A New Era Begins

ufc-espn+12018 was a year where fighters stepped into a new light pursuing things that were never even thought of before.

A lot of that has to do with Conor McGregor who in 2017 became the first fighter in UFC history to earn two titles at the same time in two different weight classes.

That launched a new level for the UFC as the debate about the greatest ever now involved fighters who won two titles at the same time.

McGregor was all along for a long time but in 2018 it became a quick theme for the promotion with big names putting themselves into that rarified air.

Although McGregor might not be the best technical fighter in the world he certainly is the biggest and his example is followed constantly.

What has been different about the fighters following McGregor into that champ-champ club is that the next fighters to do it had to beat some of the greatest ever.

Daniel Cormier was the first to follow when he beat Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title giving him the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles in the UFC.

Miocic was considered the greatest heavyweight champion ever, defending his belt more than any other heavyweight champion in UFC history.

Yet Cormier was able to knock him out while going up in weight to put his name among the best to ever do it.

Next was Amanda Nunes who had already beaten the biggest names in women’s MMA to earn and keep her bantamweight title.

In December she took on the woman many consider to be the best ever in Cris Cyborg and she beat the woman with a decade-long win streak to take the featherweight title.

Both had to overcome some major names to get their spot among the best and both are now among the debate for best ever.

2019 was going to follow the pattern as another great fighter was set to make his attempt at becoming the fourth fighter with two belts.

TJ Dillashaw is often forgotten when talking about the best in the UFC but the bantamweight champion has only been getting better over the past few years.

His title win against Cody Garbrandt and subsequent defence left no doubt in a division where the next great challenger can’t stay healthy.

After winning the bantamweight title Dillashaw looked to bigger things and initially had another title fight in mind.

He wanted to drop down in weight to the flyweight division to take on the man some considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Demetrious Johnson had cleaned out the flyweight division and had nothing left so Dillashaw looked to create that super fight.

It never came to be and then was eliminated from possibility when Johnson finally lost his belt to Henry Cejudo and then was traded to ONE Championship.mma-sidebar.fw

Dillashaw still had his eyes on the belt though as he turned his attention to Cejudo who had done the impossible and beat the best.

Although Cejudo has yet to prove that he can meet the expectations he did beat the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Anyone who can do that is a great fighter and Dillashaw was looking to take on the challenge with even bigger ideas for the future.

Dillashaw got the fight he was looking for and it would come on a night when the UFC turned a new page in their development.

Dillashaw would look for his consecutive title on the first fight with ESPN as he would headline along with Cejudo for the Flyweight title.

The fight was supposed to be the crown for Dillashaw and an attempt for him to become the first triple-champion.

A win would give him two and with eyes on the featherweight division, he was going to move to the top of the greatest list.

That wasn’t meant to be as Cejudo came out firing and immediately had Dillashaw on the mat with a quick knockout.

The knockout ended Dillashaw’s chances of being a champ-champ but it was a big move for so many different reasons.

Cejudo remains the flyweight champion and has now beaten two of the best lighter weight fighters in the UFC.

His win could help save a division that the UFC was getting ready to eliminate as there are more intriguing matchups with a pure flyweight holding the title.

Then against, Cejudo could also find his way to the bantamweight division and challenge Dillashaw for that belt to become a champ-champ.

The win ends the plans for Dillashaw but opens up a new world of possibilities with a new king of the lighter weights.

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