There is a vacancy at the top of the bantamweight division. TJ Dillashaw vacated the title after an “adverse finding” in a drug test administered by USADA and NYSAC after his flyweight loss to Henry Cejudo and now fighters are trying to find their way into a bout for the unclaimed strap.
One of those men is Pedro Munhoz, who recently dispatched former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 235 via first round knockout.
UFC president Dana White revealed after the Fight Night Nashville card that his plan is to have flyweight champion Henry Cejudo fight No. 1 ranked bantamweight Marlon Moraes for the vacant strap, though nothing official was announced.
Munhoz believes he should be the man to oppose the top ranked bantamweight for the title.
“I have been doing a good job in the bantamweight division finishing almost all of my fights, especially my last one, knocking out the former champion,” Munhoz told the TSN MMA Show. “Marlon Moraes has been doing his job too finishing fights, so I believe that’s going to be a very interesting fight.”
“We’re both finishers and I think it’s good timing right now. Henry Cejudo is a great fighter, he’s the flyweight division champion, but the fight that makes sense at bantamweight is Marlon Moraes and me.”
Part of the heat between Cejudo and Moraes is a back and forth battle that the two fighters have waged on Twitter.
Munhoz is not much of a trash talker or Twitter user, instead letting his fighting do the talking, though he sees now that he may have to get back on the social media platform if that’s the way to get his name into the title picture.
“I’m not active on Twitter, basically on Twitter I see a bunch of haters, so I avoid going there,” said Munhoz. “If that’s what’s needed to get a fight, I guess I have to starting doing that. I guess. “
While many other fighters have piled on Dillashaw or claimed that they were suspicious of the two-time champion, even before he tested positive, Munhoz did not join the chorus, instead taking a live and let live approach.
“I don’t focus on those things and I don’t wish for that to happen to anybody,” said Munhoz. “To each his own, if he didn’t or if he did that’s on him and his team. I was never thinking about if he was doing drugs or not.”
“In my point of view, I have so many things to focus on myself and to be better myself, that I don’t waste my time thinking about other people.”
When he found out about the positive test and the vacant title, Munhoz did believe it was a massive break for him, especially considering his recent win and who he beat.
“My first reaction was, ‘oh man, I think it’s going to be my time now’, Marlon is number one and I’m number four, but that four doesn’t make sense because I just knocked out the former champion and literally a week before the fight Cody Garbrandt was number one ranked and I was number nine,” said Munhoz.
“I didn’t just beat him in a three-round fight, I went there and knocked him out in one round. Anything that I needed to do to prove I deserve the title shot I did in that fight right there, I showed that I deserve it more than anyone in the division.”
One fighter that has been trying to get Munhoz’ attention is Petr Yan, a fighter on a seven-fight winning streak, including his most recent victory over John Dodson at Fight Night Prague. Munhoz believes they’ll meet one day, but right now is concentrating on either a title or a number one contender fight.
“After showing my skills and fights, right now is the time for a title fight or if it’s not a title fight, one more fight to decide who is going to be the next challenger,” said Munhoz. “He wants to fight me next, but for me it doesn’t make any sense because if I beat him nothing is going to change. I have to fight for the title next or one of the top fighters to decide who’s going to be the next challenger.”