CHICAGO — Henry Cejudo has an Olympic wrestling gold medal. He has the UFC flyweight title. And now, one of the best combat sport athletes of all time has added some more gold to his collection: the UFC bantamweight title belt.
Cejudo, 32, stopped Marlon Moraes via TKO with ground and pound at 4:51 of the third round Saturday night in the main event of UFC 238 at United Center. The bout was for the vacant bantamweight title forfeited earlier this year by TJ Dillashaw because of a failed drug test.
“I’m not champ-champ,” Cejudo said in an impassioned postfight speech. “My name is Triple C — Olympic champion, flyweight champion of the world and now bantamweight champion of the world. I’m the greatest combat athlete of all time and I just stole the title of best pound-for-pound fighter too.”
Moraes clearly won the first round. It looked as if his speed would give Cejudo trouble all night. He was throwing lightning-fast combinations and landing. Cejudo had some reddening on his right cheek from punches and his lead leg was getting messed up by Moraes kicks.
But in the second round, Cejudo said he saw Moraes change. He said Moraes was throwing with too much power and running out of gas.
“His demeanor showed everything,” Cejudo said.
Cejudo was bloodied in a wild round. But he landed big knees to Moraes’ head in a Thai clinch. The two traded haymakers as the round came to a close. In the third, Cejudo took over. He busted up Moraes’ nose with punches, crushed him with a knee to the body, took him down and took top position. Moraes rained elbows and punches down on Moraes until referee Marc Goddard stepped in to stop it.
Afterward, Cejudo said he had a “hit list.” He called out former bantamweight champions Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt, as well as legend Urijah Faber. “The Messenger” said he also wanted to go up to featherweight and fight for a third title there.
Dana White breaks down what he saw from Henry Cejudo in his TKO win vs. Marlon Moraes, and the turning point of the fight for Cejudo. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
“I want to start getting paid,” Cejudo said. “I want to start making heavyweight money.”
Cejudo (15-2) said he had a severely sprained ankle heading into the fight but overcame it despite the pain. The Arizona resident is just the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously (Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes are the others).
McGregor tweeted his congratulations to Cejudo, who has won five straight bouts.
Congratulations Henry Cejudo! Welcome to the club ? https://t.co/xF2BHGfr9n
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 9, 2019
Moraes (22-6-1) saw his four-fight winning streak come to an end. Before Saturday, the 31-year-old New Jersey resident had only one loss since 2011.
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