Henry Cejudo has heard a lot of talking from TJ Dillashaw leading into their flyweight title fight on Saturday night in Brooklyn.
It started with Dillashaw proclaiming that he was being paid to move down to 125 pounds to effectively kill off the division by taking out Cejudo, winning the title and then nailing the door shut on that weight class forever.
Since then, Dillashaw has talked often about being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, hopes of becoming the greatest fighter of all time and even teasing a potential move to 145 pounds to challenge featherweight champion Max Holloway.
It’s a mighty big check to write and it’s one Cejudo is quite sure Dillashaw can’t cash.
“I like it. I’m going to make him pay,” Cejudo told MMAWeekly. “I’m going to make TJ Dillashaw pay. I like it. Everybody every once in a while needs a little bit of that humble pie and he’s going to get it. He’s going to get it come January 19.”
Heading into the fight, Dillashaw has been the favorite based on the betting odds and he’s certainly proven himself to be the best bantamweight in the world with back-to-back knockouts over Cody Garbrandt.
That said, Dillashaw hasn’t cut down to 125 pounds since he was a senior in high school more than 15 years ago. The reigning bantamweight king has said numerous times that he’s been meticulous with his weight cutting regimen in this camp and expects to hit the flyweight limit without any issues.
Still, Cejudo knows that those final few pounds are going to hit him hard and there’s no way that shedding that much weight won’t change him as a fighter going into their five round bout in Brooklyn.
“TJ’s going to be depleted. People don’t go down in weight and win belts,” Cejudo said. “People go up in weight and win belts. It makes me mad. People who have fought should know better. He’s going to lose power, he’s going to lose strength.
“I like the fight at 125 or 135 but I really, really, really like the fight at 125.”
When it comes to his strategy, Cejudo also loves the way he matches up with Dillashaw because he’s seen the mistakes many past opponents have made when facing off with the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner.
According to the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, Dillashaw thrives on aggression and he feasts on anybody willing to stand and trade with him in the pocket.
While Cejudo is confident in his ability to fight fire with fire, he believes overall he has more weapons in his arsenal that will give Dillashaw headaches if he’s not just willing to stand there and duke it out with him.
“I think TJ’s gift is also his weakness,” Cejudo explained. “I don’t think TJ has ever fought a fighter or a competitor like me. A guy that doesn’t go with fire against fire. A guy that will put the fire out with water. What I mean by that is TJ’s greatest gift is his aggressiveness. He’s willing to throw a head kick in the first 20 seconds of the fight but that’s also his curse.
“I think he’s a phenomenal, great fighter but as much as you want to credit his strengths, it’s also a weakness as well.”
Obviously, Cejudo isn’t afraid to test his skills against Dillashaw and see who is the better fighter come Saturday night.
In his head, Cejudo definitely has a dream scenario on how he’d love this fight to play out but all that really matters is getting his hand raised and retaining his flyweight championship.
“Knocking him the hell out in the first round,” Cejudo said with a laugh when making his prediction for the fight. “You’re going to have to tune in. ‘The Messenger’ is the Olympic champ and the UFC champ, I’m the only one to ever do that. There’s only one true champ-champ and his name is Henry Cejudo. Cause people winning two belts in the UFC are just two division champs. I’m the true champ-champ. Youngest American to ever win gold in wrestling in 2008 and in 2018, 10 years later takes out the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in human history.
“Count out Henry Cejudo, bet the house on TJ Dillashaw cause I want all you guys to go broke.”