Dana White talks about flyweight shift ahead of UFC 238: ‘Nobody cared whatsoever about Demetrious Johnson’ – MMA Mania
While the future of the UFC’s flyweight division remains up in the air, current champion Henry Cejudo could force the promotion to keep the weight class around a little longer with a win over Marlon Moraes tomorrow night (Sat., June 8, 2019) at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., for the UFC’s vacant bantamweight crown.
A victory for Cejudo will make him the newest UFC champ-champ and inject even more life into the stagnant flyweight division. Cejudo may only have a few big wins to his name, which includes a split-decision title victory over Demetrious Johnson last year and then a 32-second TKO finish over T.J. Dillashaw back in January, but UFC president Dana White already believes more people care about the Olympic gold medalist than they did “Mighty Mouse,” who may very well be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time.
“I had a guy who was completely dominant, every time he fought he was exciting and always went for the finish, but people didn’t care,” said White in a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “Nobody cared whatsoever about Demetrious Johnson.”
Johnson, of course, was traded to ONE Championship late last year in exchange for the ultra-entertaining Ben Askren. It was a move that many fight fans were shocked to see given Johnson’s 15-2-1 UFC record, but the legendary flyweight champion failed to sell fights at almost every turn and the promotion had had enough.
That’s why White and company are excited about the prospect of Cejudo becoming a UFC double champ. Not only for the fact that it will help transform “Messenger” into one of the promotion’s newest stars during a growing ESPN era, but also because it could help save a division that has historically lacked fan interest.
“Henry Cejudo might be the guy that people actually care about,” White said.
White, who acknowledges that people follow Cejudo for his in-cage fighting more than his on-stage antics, believes that the 32-year-old can also become the first two-division champion to actually defend both titles. It’s a feat that has never been carried out in UFC history.
That said, despite the promising future that Cejudo holds, he must first knock off Moraes this weekend at UFC 238. It’s not going to be easy considering “Magic” is arguably the toughest matchup of Cejudo’s storied combat career.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 238 fight card tomorrow night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the ESPN+ PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
For much more on UFC 238 click here.