MMA News

Jussier Formiga: Champ Henry Cejudo improved since first fight, but 'I've improved a lot more'



LAS VEGAS – After beating Sergio Pettis at UFC 229 on Saturday Jussier Formiga has an idea of what should come next for him.

“For sure, a title shot,” Formiga told reporters backstage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Formiga (22-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) says he hasn’t heart anything official from the UFC on that front yet. But, after the clear unanimous-decision win over stand-out Pettis (17-4 MMA, 8-4 UFC) added up to a three-fight streak, the flyweight believes there’s really not much else that makes sense other than a stab at the title.

He isn’t crazy to feel that way. After all, the No. 7 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings has been a strong presence atop the 125-pound division for quite some time. But a pair of losses at key times, first to current champ Henry Cejudo and then to onetime title challenger Ray Borg, have kept him from making it all the way to the belt.

Since the loss to Borg in March of 2017, though, Formiga has moved camps from Rio de Janeiro’s Nova Uniao to American Top Team in Florida and has shown improvement with each fight. Before Pettis, he’d beaten Ben Nguyen and Ulka Sasaki.

Unfortunately for Formiga, though, it isn’t entirely up to him. While Cejudo’s (13-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) first title defense has yet to be scheduled, he’s already made it clear that he wants it to be against 135-pound champion T.J. Dillashaw – with a rematch against former flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson as the next option.

That could mean a whole lot of waiting for the currently healthy and injury-free Formiga, who wants to go home and talk to his manager and coaches before committing to anything on that sense.

But he does know this: If he ends up rematching Cejudo, who took a split-decision over him in 2015, things will be different.

“The first (fight) was a split decision and now it would be totally different,” Formiga said in his native Portuguese. “He improved a lot, but I’ve improved a lot more. I think my most recent performances were much better than his.”

To hear from Formiga, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 229, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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