Henry Cejudo officially joined the ranks of two-division champions with a third-round TKO win over Marlon Moraes in the main event of UFC 238 in Chicago on Saturday.
The Messenger showcased the heart of a champion with a remarkable comeback win to do it. Moraes won the first round before Cejudo turned the tide and scored the finish with ground-and-pound in the third frame.
Moraes established distance between the two fighters early on. His powerful leg and head kicks established himself as the longer fighter as Cejudo had a hard time closing the distance without taking multiple strikes from Magic.
Cejudo found his answer in Round 2. After Moraes continued to chip away at his legs from distance for the second half The Messenger found the Thai clinch, closed the distance and turned the bout into a brawl with success.
That trend would continue in the second round as the flyweight champion simply took over. He not only won the exchanges on the feet, but was able to force Moraes to the ground where the beatdown accelerated.
The new double champion gained dominant position and rained down ground-and-pound until the fight was brought to a halt.
After the fight Cejudo talked about waiting out Moraes after absorbing some of his power shots early in the fight:
The case for Cejudo to sit atop the pound-for-pound rankings continues to get stronger. The Messenger is both the flyweight and bantamweight champion, and every time people doubt he'll win his next fight, he always seems to come through.
The 2008 Olympic gold medalist has single-handedly kept the flyweight division alive and knocked off former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw in January. Now the focus will shift to whether the flyweight division will be kept alive.
"This guy believes — and I do, too — if he gets past Marlon on Saturday, he believes that he can hold both belts and defend them both at the same time. I love to give guys the opportunity for greatness — to hold two belts at the same time, which is a very hard thing to do, or to win two belts in two different weight classes. Nobody's actually stuck around and defend both. I believe that Cejudo can be that guy. He's a guy that wants to achieve things that nobody's ever done, and that's the way to do it."
Defending two belts simultaneously would be a tall order, but Cejudo has shown he's up to the task. Moraes was the third foe in a row to enter as the favorite against the champion, but Cejudo keeps defying expectations.
He'll have the opportunity to defy even more if he keeps coming up big against the best of competition.