It’s no secret that the UFC’s flyweight division is not among the promotion’s chief attractions. A weight class, dominated by the absurdly impressive title reign of champion Demetrious Johnson, has been wholly unable to build any cache with the MMA fanbase. And while there are a whole slew of reasons behind that, one may be a lack of strong personalities that can drive attention toward potential fights.
That’s Henry Cejudo’s train of thought, at least. The top ranked former Olympic gold medalist is gearing up for his second chance at the belt – having been defeated by Johnson in the first round of their bout back in 2016. To get his rematch – along with winning fights – he took a bit of a heel turn back in May, calling out the champ on Twitter.
I was being told DJ overplayed his hand, they asked him to fight in August he said no and now he’s trying to get on again because he knows he can’t sell his own PPV and want to make money off others. Fact. #makeyourownmoney https://t.co/QL65Ox9OUp
— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) May 16, 2018
It was an unusual move for a fighter who largely seems to treat his Twitter account as a re-posting platform for his Instagram (most of which is pretty tame). But, in a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Cejudo revealed that he’s been inspired to work on the “entertainment side” of fighting more, in the hopes of creating more professional opportunities. And the source of that inspiration? Newly minted interim welterweight champion Colby Covington.
“I come from the sport of wrestling where there’s nothing but respect on the mat,” Cejudo told MMAjunkie. “In MMA, it’s a sport, but it’s entertainment, too. Look at Colby Covington. The guy can fight and the guy can talk. To a lot of people he just grinds people out, and many people consider him boring, but because he opens his mouth, people want to watch him fight. A lot of people want to see him win, a lot of people want to see him lose. There’s more eyes on him. I’ve learned that in MMA it’s the entertainment side. I’m grasping that from now on. If I have to pick on somebody to get the fight, then that’s what I have to do, especially for the flyweight division.”
Cejudo and Johnson will face off again, with the flyweight title on the line, on August 4th at UFC 227. Their bout is expected to co-main the card under another rematch, the bantamweight title fight between champion T.J. Dillashaw and former champ Cody Garbrandt. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates as the card approaches.
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