UFC makes Joseph Benavidez vs. Deiveson Figueiredo for vacated flyweight title

News broke late Thursday that UFC dual-division champion Henry Cejudo would vacate the flyweight title. It’s now official and there is already a plan in place to determine a new champion.

UFC officials on Friday confirmed that Cejudo would relinquish the flyweight title, opting to defend the bantamweight belt. Sources indicated that Cejudo was being forced to make the move after he sat out the latter half of 2019 because of an injury, which has kept the title in limbo in two divisions. With the UFC regularly promoting upwards of 40-50 events per year, the company can’t afford to have two championships unavailable for so long.

With Cejudo giving up the flyweight belt, No. 1 ranked Joseph Benavidez and No. 3 ranked Deiveson Figueiredo quickly agreed to fight for the vacant championship.

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Though Jussier Formiga holds the No. 2 slot in the official UFC rankings, he lost to Benavidez in June and hasn’t fought since, so it didn’t make much sense to slot him into the title fight with Benavidez. Though Figueiredo has a loss to Formiga, he has since rebounded with back-to-back victories.

Benavidez has been a perennial mainstay at the No. 1 spot and is currently on a three fight winning streak. He has won nine of his last 10 bouts since failing to take the belt from Demetrious Johnson in December of 2013.

The Benavidez vs. Figueiredo flyweight title fight will take top billing on the UFC on ESPN+ 27 fight card, which is slated to take place on Feb. 29 at Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Va.