Figueiredo wants to move up for Cejudo or defend flyweight title against Johnson

Figueiredo choked out Joseph Benavidez at the end of a dominant first round to claim the vacant belt at Fight Island on Saturday, having been ineligible for the title in their first bout back in February because he missed weight.

It was the fourth submission attempt from the Brazilian, who was initially a doubt for the fight due to testing positive for coronavirus, after he knocked down Benavidez for a third time.

Figueiredo improved his record in mixed martial arts to 19-1 and believes he has the stature required to encourage Cejudo to return to the Octagon.

Cejudo called time on his UFC career after defending his bantamweight title, which he won after vacating the flyweight belt, against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 last May.

UFC Fight Island 2 results: Figueiredo submits Benavidez to claim flyweight title

“I’ll accept a super-fight if they give me one. I’ll move up to 135 [pounds]. I want to be a two-division champion but I’m going to defend this belt as well,” said Figueiredo.

“I’d like to have a fight at 135. I’d like to be the guy to bring back Henry Cejudo from retirement.

“I think he was looking for a worthy opponent and I think I’m that guy. I would love to move up and fight him at 135.”

The flyweight and bantamweight divisions now have new champions, with Petr Yan beating Jose Aldo for the latter belt at UFC 251.

Following Figueiredo’s triumph and with a reference to Yan, Cejudo tweeted: “Congrats to the second interim UFC champ this week.”

He followed it up with a video of him having his hair trimmed and the caption: “The real champ is getting a haircut.”

UFC president Dana White said Figueiredo will have to successfully defend his title more than once before being offered the opportunity to move up in weight.

“I’d like to see him defend his title a couple times. Maybe if he defends the title a couple of times, that’ll be interesting, yeah,” said White.

On the fight with Benavidez, he added: “Pure violence. No controversy in this one. We have pretty nasty champions in those two divisions now.

“[There was] a ton of controversy in the first fight from weight to headbutts. No controversy in this one. The guy came in and did what he said he was going to do against the number two ranked guy in the world and he looked damn good doing it.”

If his next fight comes at 125lbs, Figueiredo would like to take on inaugural flyweight champion Johnson, who is fighting in the ONE Championship.

“Now I have the belt I have to train very hard. I’m the guy that everyone wants to beat,” he said.

“I’m a knockout artist, everybody knows that, and we put that record together with a lot of hard work.

“That’s definitely a fight all the fans would want to see, me against Demetrius Johnson. If the UFC wants to bring him back, I’m going to be very happy, and I’m going to knock him out with a lot of pride.”

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