View this post on Instagram Ever since he ascended to the top of the UFC flyweight division, Henry Cejudo has embraced his standing as MMA’s undisputed king of cringe-worthy self-referential social media.Cejudo is to try-hard posting what Derrick Lewis is to NSFW videos and Tony Ferguson is to aggressive capitalization, with his efforts ranging from thirsting after Nikki Bella and dancing with his championship belt to making sure everyone knows he’s an Olympic gold medalist and dubbing himself “the greatest combat sports athlete of all time.” Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearMuch like nicknames, such a distinction isn’t something you can bestow upon yourself, even if a case can be made for it being true.Earlier this week at his media lunch engagement in Los Angeles, the 32-year-old standout broke out a rehearsed speech about all the nasty things he’s been called in the past, rattling off a list of distinctions and forced descriptors that highlight his accomplishments before ending by declaring that he’s never been called the pound-for-pound champ and that his aim is to change that this weekend at UFC 238 in Chicago.It was a top-shelf offering from “The King of Cringe,” especially given that he posted the exact same thing on both Instagram and Twitter two days earlier. Moraes could end the conversation before it starts by taking Cejudo to the woodshed and claiming the bantamweight title for himself, dashing the flyweight titleholder’s hopes of being a two-weight world champion.But if the 32-year-old try-hard emerges victorious, his 12-month run from UFC 227 through UFC 238 this weekend in Chicago has to go down as one of the individual stretches in UFC history.Maybe even the best, period. I’ve been called a lot of nasty things in my life, Gold Digger, Son of a gold, Olympic Champion, UFC Champion, Hall of Famer, record breaker, 1 of 1, dream catcher, Dream snatcher, Snake killer, Mouse trap, goat killer, and The King of Cringe. “But never” have I been called Pound for Pound! That will all change come Jun. 8th #andnew #p4pA post shared by Henry Cejudo (@henry_cejudo) on Jun 1, 2019 at 11:45pm PDTAll of this would be difficult to endure if it wasn’t clearly being done with a wink and a smile.Cejudo has clearly embraced being a guy who tries too hard and is probably never going to get the credit that he deserves for his accomplishments. Instead, he’s amplified it into a persona for the sake of promoting himself, his fight with Marlon Moraes on Saturday and his place in the pantheon of all-time greats. This approach makes a great deal of sense in today’s “This is so bad — you have to watch it” world.And it’s working too.Cejudo has gone from being the earnest dude who didn’t get much love from fans when he was first working his way up the divisional ladder to a thwacked a stuffed snake on the ground a couple of times as he readied to face-off with T.J. Dillashaw and was applauded for his efforts. He’s decided to go with the current rather than trying to swim against it and it has elevated him to a new level of exposure and recognition, which is crucial in this sport, even if it takes a little tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation.The ironic thing, however, is that while the reigning flyweight champion has been getting recognition for embracing this amplified caricature of himself, it has taken away from the fact that with a win on Saturday, Cejudo could complete one of the greatest 12-month stretches in UFC history.Fighters like Donald Cerrone and Neil Magny have won more fights in a calendar year than Cejudo, and other champions have enjoyed similar stretches where they have won and/or defended their belts in impression fashion three times or more in a 12-month span.Frank Shamrock posted four championship victories between December 1997 and October 1998, winning the light heavyweight title from Kevin Jackson before successfully defending it against Igor Zinoviev, Jeremy Horn and Jon Lober.Jon Jones went 4-for-4 with four finishes over an 11-month span in 2011, defeating Ryan Bader and stopping Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to claim the light heavyweight title before successfully defending it against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida.Between April 2008 and January 2009, Georges St-Pierre avenged his upset loss to Matt Serra to unify the welterweight titles, crafted a masterpiece against Jon Fitch and dominated B.J. Penn in the first “Champion vs. Champion” fight in UFC history. In the middle of her dominant run atop the bantamweight division, Ronda Rousey needed just 96 seconds combined to dispatch Sara McMann, Alexis Davis and Cat Zingano and she did it all in the span of 53 weeks.Those are all incredible achievements by a collection of incomparable talents. However those dominant runs, as impressive as they were, don’t compare with what Cejudo could achieve with a victory on Saturday.With a win over Moraes this weekend in Chicago, Cejudo would become just the second fighter in UFC history to capture titles in two different weight classes within the same calendar year and he’ll have done so with a victory over another UFC champion in between.For a long time, winning championship gold in two different weight classes was one of the most impressive feats a fighter could accomplish inside the Octagon. Only a handful of fighters had fought for titles in two different divisions and for the longest time, only two did so successfully, Randy Couture and B.J. Penn.Over the last several years, however, reigning champions challenging for a title in a second weight class has become the norm and three athletes have been able to accomplish the feat, starting with Conor McGregor in 2016, followed by Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes earning the “Double Champ” distinction in 2018.Cejudo has the opportunity to become the fourth fighter to join the exclusive club on Saturday and if he’s successful, his three-fight run from UFC 227 through UFC 238 may go down as the best one-year run of any fighter inside the Octagon.Of the three fighters to earn the “Double Champ” distinction, only McGregor achieved the feat in the same calendar year, having claimed the featherweight title from Jose Aldo on December 12, 2015 and the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez on November 12, 2016 at UFC 205. Both were electric performances, but it’s what transpired in between those championship victories that could position McGregor behind Cejudo in the “Best Year Ever” discussion.After winning the featherweight title, McGregor was supposed to immediately challenge Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight belt, but a broken foot forced the Brazilian out of the contest and opened the door for Nathan Diaz to step in on short notice to face the Irish superstar at UFC 196.Diaz surprised a lot of people (though not himself) by weathering McGregor’s early offensive barrage and rallying to submit the featherweight champ in the second round. The loss ate at the SBG Ireland product, who requested an immediate rematch and briefly retired from the sport when some of his demands surrounding pre-fight media obligations weren’t met.Ultimately, McGregor and Diaz ran it back at UFC 202, with the former garnering a majority decision to draw level in the personal series before returning his focus to winning the lightweight title, which he did three months later at Madison Square Garden.While McGregor went 1-1 in a pair of riveting bouts with Diaz, a wildly popular, but enigmatic and inconsistent fighter throughout his UFC career, Cejudo stepped into the Octagon with TJ Dillashaw, the reigning bantamweight champion at the time who was coming off back-to-back knockout wins over former champ Cody Garbrandt. And where McGregor initially stumbled, Cejudo shined, clipping Dillashaw in the first real exchange of the fight and collecting the finish just 32 seconds after the bout began.Now, this is far from an apples-to-apples comparison, as McGregor went up in weight to fight Diaz on short notice at welterweight while Cejudo welcomed Dillashaw to the flyweight ranks, but on the basis of whom each man fought and how those fights went, it’s hard to argue against the UFC 238 headliner having the edge.There is no denying each of the bouts between McGregor and Diaz were bigger fights and did astronomically better numbers or that Diaz is a far more popular fighter than Dillashaw, but this isn’t a popularity contest or an exercise where box office returns have carry any real weight.From a strictly achievement standpoint, Cejudo posting a 12-month run with championship wins over Johnson and Moraes sandwiched around a 32-second knockout of Dillashaw is a greater accomplishment than McGregor’s “Champ-Champ” run bracketing his two-fight series with Diaz.Johnson is considered one of the best fighters on the planet and in the tier just below the small group in the running for being the greatest fighter of all time, while Dillashaw entered their meeting as a two-time world champion with a 16-3 record. Though Moraes has never worn UFC gold, he’s clearly a Top 5 bantamweight and may even prove to be the best in the world on Saturday if he beats Cejudo and renders this entire endeavor moot.As much as McGregor’s 13-second blasting of Aldo to win the featherweight title remains one of the most incredible championship performances in UFC history and winning the lightweight title from Alvarez is an impressive feat, splitting the two fights with Diaz — and the second fight being incredibly close — has to give the edge to Cejudo because he walked into the Octagon and blitzed a fellow UFC champion in 32 seconds.If you want to argue McGregor was fighting in a third weight class, so registering three wins across three divisions in a 12-month span with title victories on either end is a greater achievement, it’s an angle worth exploring, but does it carry as much value if the B-Side to those two fights isn’t Diaz?Additionally, how much credit would Cejudo get for venturing to featherweight and getting finished by a comparable opponent before eking one out on the cards in the rematch five months later? Few people would give the “King of Cringe” much love for splitting a pair of bouts with Cub Swanson the same way McGregor did with Diaz, but it feels like that has far more to do with Diaz being one of the most popular fighters in the sport, not his achievements inside the Octagon.Thought exercises like this never have one right answer — they’re meant to spark debates and discussions, get people thinking about the ramifications of a specific performance, especially when there are championship talents involved.