With T.J. Dillashaw relinquishing the bantamweight title
earlier this week, the UFC is moving towards a fight between Marlon Moraes and
Henry Cejudo to determine a new 135-pound champion.
That’s coming from UFC president Dana White, who announced
the news on Saturday night following the UFC Fight Night card from Nashville.
“I now have a plan. I didn’t have a plan before, now I have
a plan,” White explained on the ESPN+ post fight show. “It looks like we’re
going to do the [Marlon] Moraes-[Henry] Cejudo fight.
“They both want that fight really bad, seems like a good
fight to make with the whole [TJ] Dillashaw thing now.”
Dillashaw surrendered the welterweight title after ‘adverse’
findings in a drug test that was taken around his last fight in January when he
fell to Cejudo by knockout at flyweight.
The New York State Athletic Commission suspended Dillashaw
for one year and fined him $10,000. USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) is
still investigating the situation and Dillashaw could potentially face
additional sanctions based on the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
Now with a vacant title at bantamweight, the UFC appears
ready to move forward to crown a new champion in the division.
Cejudo has been clamoring for a shot at winning a second
world title after he finished Dillashaw in just 32 seconds in their fight
earlier this year. Cejudo already holds the flyweight championship and he has
been asking for the opportunity to win a second world title in the UFC.
As for Moraes, the former World Series of Fighting champion
has won his last four fights in a row including a trio of jaw-dropping finishes
against Raphael Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling.
While the fight appears to be in the works, White didn’t say
how soon he planned on making the matchup although it appears the UFC will move
quickly now that a new bantamweight champion is needed.