Kiwi UFC fighter Kai Kara France credits former mentor Henry Cejudo for saving flyweight division

Kiwi mixed martial arts fighter Kai Kara France has credited his former mentor, UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo, for keeping the division alive after his devastating first round TKO win over TJ Dillashaw in Brooklyn on Sunday.

Cejudo coached Kara France on the UFC's Ultimate Fighter season 24 series in 2016.

The 25-year-old took to Instagram to congratulate Cejudo.

"I couldn't be anymore happier for Henry, to have him respond to me 'I did it for us,' it's pretty cool," said Kara France.

"I've always been asked to go out and train with him out in Arizona, but we have a good thing going here at City Kickboxing, so I have just not found the time.

"It's awesome to see what he [Cejudo] has done for the division and obviously he has saved it."

Cejudo's title fight with UFC's bantamweight champion Dillashaw lasted only 32 seconds, with the referee stepping in to stop the bout.

MMA experts and punters predicted the flyweight division to be cut from the UFC - that was until Cejudo's unexpected win over Dillashaw.

"It just adds more pressure, but it's good pressure, that you are fighting like it could be your last," Kara France said. 

"So no one is safe, but that is just going to make the fights more exciting."

Kara France is set to step back into the octagon next month against Brazilian fighter Raulian Paiva Frazao at UFC 234 in Melbourne on February 10.

The flyweight said he was cheering on his former coach Cejudo, who was crowned the new UFC flyweight champ at the weekend. Source: 1 NEWS

"I've been training right through the holidays," he said. "Christmas Day we were here at 6am.

"New Year's day we were here [at City Kickboxing gym] as well. It's just one of those things you have got to sacrifice but it is all worth it."

Kara France made his debut in the UFC last December with a unanimous decision win over American fighter Elias Garcia.

UFC flyweight champion Cejudo defeated UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw via first round TKO in Brooklyn on Sunday. Source: Te Karere