The UFC’s first event of 2019 will see bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw move down to flyweight to challenge reigning 125 lbs king Henry Cejudo. It’s the first “champ vs. champ” fight in UFC history to feature someone moving down in weight, but if Dillashaw does prevail against Cejudo, he’s got his eyes fixated on challenging for the featherweight belt next.
“Everyone wants me to go to featherweight and fight Max [Holloway],” Dillashaw said during a recent Instagram live video (via MMAjunkie). “I would love to. But look, one step at a time. Let’s run through Cejudo first then Max can be next. [I can] be the first one to ever go for three belts.”
It seems as if allowing Conor McGregor to move up to fight then-lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez back in 2016 has opened the floodgates for plenty of reigning champions to dream of winning titles in multiple divisions, with the likes of Amanda Nunes and Daniel Cormier having joined McGregor as “champ-champs.”
Dillashaw regained the 135 lbs belt after knocking out Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217 in November 2017, then knocked him out in the rematch at UFC 227 last August. The thought of him going for title fights at flyweight and featherweight might not sit well with the other contenders in what’s been a fairly stalled out bantamweight division, but that doesn’t mean we’ll actually see this materialize.
Duane Ludwig, Dillashaw’s coach, spoke to MMAjunkie about the potential for T.J. to head up to featherweight for the first time.
“I think that would be more of a challenge to go up in weight than it has been to go down in weight,” Ludwig said. “T.J. is not a big bantamweight anyway. Going up in weight, that’s when we’ll see more change.
“I assume he would become possibly a little slower, but have more power. But we’ll see what ends up happening if that’s the journey for us. Right now we’re focused on the task at hand.”
Dillashaw’s showdown with Cejudo headlines UFC on ESPN+ in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday, January 19th. That fight, along with the rest of the main card, streams live on the ESPN+ streaming service.