5 Things You Should Know About UFC Flyweight Champion Henry Cejudo

Photo: Joe Scarnici / Stringer (Getty Images)

Henry Cejudo completed a long, arduous climb to the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 125-pound weight class. Now the question becomes whether or not he can stay there.

Cejudo will defend his undisputed flyweight crown against current bantamweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw in the UFC Fight Night 143 main event on Jan. 19 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Their five-round champion-versus-champion superfight headlines the promotion’s debut on ESPN Plus. Cejudo, 31, has pieced together a three-fight winning streak since his December 2016 decision defeat to Joseph Benavidez.

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As Cejudo makes final preparations for his showdown with Dillashaw, here are five things you should know about him:

1. His amateur wrestling pedigree jumps off the page.

Cejudo struck gold in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where he became the youngest American to win a gold medal in the discipline. He was also a three-time gold medalist at the Pan American Championships and a one-time winner at the Pan American Games.

Henry Cejudo kicks Sergio Pettis. Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

2. He made a smooth move to MMA.

Cejudo made his debut as a professional mixed martial artist at a World Fighting Federation event on March 2, 2013, struck Michael Poe into submission and won his first 10 fights — a run that included victories over Dustin Kimura, Chris Cariaso, Chico Camus, and former Shooto Americas champion Jussier da Silva in the UFC.

3. He surrounds himself with the right people.

Cejudo operates out of the Fight Ready academy in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he trains alongside former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Leandro Higo and onetime King of the Cage titleholder Frankie Saenz, among others.

4. He brought down a titan.

When he took a split decision from Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227, Cejudo became the first flyweight ever to defeat “Mighty Mouse.” Johnson’s two previous losses — to Dominick Cruz at UFC Live 6 in 2011 and Brad Pickett at WEC 48 in 2010 — came at 135 pounds. The setback snapped his UFC record for consecutive successful title defenses at 11.

Henry Cejudo punches Demetrious Johnson. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

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5. Defensive wrestling has been a strength.

Cejudo’s eight UFC opponents — he fought Johnson twice — have a gone a combined 1-for-9 on takedowns against him. That equals an 11-percent conversion rate. Only Johnson managed to take down the Olympic gold medalist, having done so in the third round of their Aug. 4 rematch.

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