Until 2016, there had only been one champion vs. champion fight in modern UFC history when Georges St-Pierre defended his welterweight title against then lightweight champion B.J. Penn.
Over the past two plus years, the champion vs. champion concept has taken on a life of its own with four such fights taking place including the latest example when Henry Cejudo defended his home turf at 125 pounds by knocking out bantamweight king TJ Dillashaw in 32 seconds in January.
In the aftermath of that fight, Dillashaw cried foul while saying the fight was stopped early and he wanted a rematch.
Now Cejudo has stated that he’d be willing to rematch Dillashaw at flyweight but his preference would be for the fight to take place at 135 pounds so he could have the same opportunity to become a two-division UFC champion.
As much fun as the champion vs. champion fights have become, there’s been a lot of blowback recently as fans have expressed disinterest in entire divisions being held up for the sake of a fighter pursuing a second title rather than defending the one they already possess.
Cejudo understands that frustration, especially when there’s a fighter such as Marlon Moraes knocking on the door of a bantamweight title shot with four straight wins including three first round stoppages.
Still, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist says his pursuit of the rematch with Dillashaw is more about his own legacy than just hoisting up two titles so he can call himself the ‘champ-champ’.
“That whole champ-champ thing, people are saying it’s starting to get old but I beat the man, he weighed 149 pounds going in there. He was a lot heavier than when he fought Cody [Garbrandt] so to me absolutely, I want a shot at legacy,” Cejudo said during a fan Q&A in Australia. “I said this before and I’m not changing my tunes. I want a shot at his belt and I know I could beat him up. I really do.
“It’s a legacy purpose. It’s going to put me in a category where not too many people could say that.”
As much as Cejudo disagrees with Dillashaw’s version of the events from the first fight where he claims an egregious wrong was done to him with an early stoppage, the reigning flyweight champion is more than happy to give him a rematch.
In many ways, Cejudo says he might even be just as salty as Dillashaw has been since their first fight ended if that happened to him, he might just express himself differently.
“He’s a sore loser but that’s also what makes him great,” Cejudo said about Dillashaw. “I’m a sore loser, too, I just don’t say it out in public. I’ll go to my room and start kicking things, throwing chairs.”
While nothing has been determined yet, Cejudo is confident that he will get the fight with Dillashaw in 2019 so the two fighters can settle the score once and for all.
“We’re gonna run it back,” Cejudo said. “I know Dana White wants it, T.J. definitely wants it. He’s fuming. He didn’t touch my face, not once. We slayed the snake.”