Since New York State legalized professional mixed martial arts in 2016, the UFC has made five trips to NYC with each event featuring at least one championship fight.
Event No. 6 will be no different.
Henry Cejudo will defend his flyweight belt in a superfight with UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw at Barclays Center on Jan. 19, the promotion announced Friday.
A 2008 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, Cejudo captured the 125-pound title from the division’s only previous champion, Demetrious Johnson, at UFC 227 in August. He immediately called for a superfight with Dillashaw, who defended his 135-pound belt later that night against rival Cody Garbrandt. The fight previously had been announced as the main event for UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, Calif. The status of that pay-per-view event is unclear.
According to a UFC official, only Cejudo’s belt is up for grabs in Brooklyn and Dillashaw will not vacate the bantamweight title.
The promotion’s return to Brooklyn marks both the first UFC card of 2019 as well as its first event on ESPN+, the streaming-only subscription service launched earlier this year by ESPN, which takes over as the mixed martial arts promotion's broadcast partner after 2018. According to a UFC press release, early prelims and main card bouts will stream on ESPN+, while prelim bouts will air on ESPN.
This will be the third trip to Barclays Center for the UFC, which also has held three events at Madison Square Garden and one at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum since 2016.
After a lackluster Brooklyn debut in February 2017 at UFC 208, headlined by a women’s featherweight title between Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm, the UFC made up for it with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title win over LI’s Al Iaquinta, although fight week was marred by Conor McGregor’s infamous bus incident.