The legend of Henry Cejudo just included another chapter on Saturday. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist entered UFC 238 as the reigning flyweight champion and exited the United Center in Chicago as simply the fourth concurrent two-division champion in UFC history.
Cejudo (15-2), a local of Los Angeles, bounced back from a disastrous first round to outwork and completion top contender Marlon Moraes through third-round TKO to capture the vacant bantamweight championship in the main event.
“I am the greatest combat athlete of all time, and I just stole the title of best pound-for-pound fighter too,” Cejudo said.
The 32-year-old Cejudo made a staggering adjustment after hard leg kicks from the ground-breaking Moraes (22-6-1) left him wobbling. In any case, it was Cejudo’s cardio that started to reverse the situation. In the long run, his boxing took over in a wild Round 2 before a series of brutal knees to the face from the clinch visibly weakened Moraes.
“It was all desire. I knew Marlon was throwing a lot of power, and when you put everything into your power, you get burned,” Cejudo said. “His demeanor showed everything. This is a game of poker, and when I saw his demeanor change and he started to drop his arms, it was time to eat.”
Cejudo, who gives UFC an opportunity at a first obvious hybrid Mexican-American star, scored a key takedown on a depleted Moraes in Round 3.A series of short elbows and power shots led to an eventual stoppage when referee Marc Goddard jumped in at 4:51.
“Where is Dana White at? I want to start getting paid,” Cejudo said. “I want to start making heavyweight money. I’m going to give you guys that list now because I’m a prize fighter; Dominick Cruz, Cody Garbrandt, Uriah Faber. At 145 pounds, I would eventually like to go up and solidify another weight class as champion too.
“I was fighting adversity, as you guys heard. The media had asked me and I had sprained my left ankle, but I still wanted to fight. It was very severely a bad sprain and I taped it up. I stuck to it and I believed in my team.”
UFC 238 outcomes
Henry Cejudo def. Marlon Moraes via second-round TKO (strikes)
Valentina Shevchenko (c) def. Jessica Eye via second-round KO (head kick)
Tony Ferguson def. Donald Cerrone via second-round TKO (doctor stoppage)
Petr Yan def. Jimmie Rivera via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Blagoy Ivanov def. Tai Tuivasa via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Tatiana Suarez def. Nina Ansaroff via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Aljamain Sterling def. Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alexa Grasso def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Calvin Kattar def. Ricardo Lamas via first-round TKO (strikes)