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A New Bantamweight Era

A New Bantamweight Era

Cody Garbrandt hasn’t been the same since his first loss to TJ, losing 3 fights in a row all by knockout has really put a stain on the former champion’s reputation, and his successor TJ Dillashaw has now suffered a similar downfall.

TJ’s name is often chucked around when talking about the greatest bantamweights of all time, and he was even considered as one of the best pound for pound fighters before he dropped down to flyweight to challenge Henry Cejudo for the title. This wasn’t the smartest of moves for TJ as it saw him get knocked out after just 32 seconds, even if he does claim he was going for the single leg.

And if the bantamweight champion losing to the flyweight champion wasn’t already a bad stain on the division, he got caught using EPO, a banned substance, resulting in him getting stripped of his title and receiving a 2 year ban.

So with the bantamweight belt now vacant and the champion banned this could be a new era for the division. And the two men who will get the opportunity to cement their names in the history the history books are current flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and number one bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes.

A move up to bantamweight has often been mentioned for Cejudo but it was always anticipated he would be matching up against TJ, but with him banned, Moraes will get his first shot at UFC gold. Both fighters deserve a shot at the bantamweight title, Moraes has won his last four fights, with three of those wins coming by first round knockout. And, Cejudo beat the former champion inside 32 seconds, which really speaks for itself.

The two will square off at UFC 238 on June 8th and the card will also see woman’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defend her strap against Jessica Eye. Although Cejudo is an Olympic gold medal wrestler and has a clear advantage on the ground it will be much more challenging for him than fighting at 135 as he is fighting a much bigger opponent and it will be harder to take and pin down Moraes.

Moraes is also renowned for having unbelievable power at Bantamweight and Demetrius Johnson has proved in the past that Cejudo can be finished, so if Moraes is able to catch him early like he has with three out of his last four opponents he could definitely be looking at another first round finish on his record.

If Cejudo can survive the first round onslaught and implement his wrestling early on he’s in with a great chance of becoming the champ-champ, but for me Moraes is coming off some great wins and his power just may be the difference in this one. 

Kevin Lee: What's Next?

Kevin Lee: What's Next?