The jaws of MMA fans around the world dropped on Saturday when “Triple C” Henry Cejudo announced his retirement after winning at UFC 249 against Dominick Cruz. Cruz was a dominant force in his division winning the bantamweight title twice but was coming off a long layoff due to an injury suffered in 2018.
Known for being the “King of Cringe”, Cejudo was eager to test himself against one of the UFC’s greatest bantamweights. “Triple C” won in the second round when he knocked Cruz down with a knee to the head and quickly took advantage of his position raining down punches until the referee called the fight.
With the retirement of the champ after the win, UFC President Dana White announced that Petr Yan (14-1 MMA) will be one of the opponents for the vacant belt. “It’s Petr Yan and somebody,” White said at the UFC 249 post-fight presser. Many fans are of the opinion that Aljamain Sterling (18-3 MMA) should be first up for the title bout.
“The Funk Master” has gone undefeated since May 2018 when he beat Brett Johns by unanimous decision at UFC Atlantic City. On a four-fight win streak, Sterling also has recent wins against Cody Stamann, Jimmie Rivera, and Pedro Munhoz.
The 30-year-old is ranked at No. 2 in the bantamweight division. Marlon Moraes who holds the No. 1 spot previously fought Cejudo for the bantamweight title in June 2019 but was unsuccessful. Moraes lost in the third round via TKO.
Yan and Sterling are both at similar stages in their careers and hold the No. 2 and 3 spots in the division respectively. These fighters deserve to battle it out for the vacant UFC bantamweight title.