The UFC bantamweight division officially needs a new champion.
In the wake of Henry Cejudo announcing his retirement following a win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 246, the 135-pound title has been vacated.
That’s according to UFC officials, who confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Sunday following the release of the company’s new rankings.
A quick glance at the bantamweight division will show no champion sitting at the top of the weight class. Cejudo’s name has also been removed from the official rankings at both 135 pounds as well as the pound-for-pound rankings where he previously occupied a spot in the top five.
Now the UFC is moving forward without Cejudo in their immediate plans despite many believing that the former two-division champion would make his return to action sooner rather than later after saying that the promotion new the amount of money required to get him to fight again.
It appears the UFC is calling his bluff because now the bantamweight title has been vacated and the search for a new champion can officially begin.
Following Cejudo’s announcement, UFC president Dana White said that Russian contender Petr Yan would be involved in whatever fight would determine the next 135-pound champion. While nothing has been decided, additional sources told MMA Fighting that preliminary talks have started in regards to crowning a new champion with a potential fight being booked this summer involving Yan and an unnamed challenger.
While nothing has been decided, it appears Yan will get his chance to compete for gold with Cejudo settling into retirement now that his UFC title will go up for grabs again without him.