CHICAGO — Henry Cejudo has an Olympic wrestling gold medal. He has the UFC flyweight title. And now, one of the best combat sports athletes of all time has added some more gold to his collection: the UFC bantamweight title.
Cejudo 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 due to 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 like 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.
In the second, though, Cejudo said he saw Moraes change. He said he 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 big 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.
“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 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 were the others). Cejudo, 32, has won five straight.
Moraes (22-6-1) was on a four-fight winning streak coming in. The 31-year-old New Jersey resident had only one loss coming in going back to 2011.