Alexander Volkanovski: Henry Cejudo ‘still needs to prove himself in our division’ even if he rejoins USADA


Alexander Volkanovski isn’t taking Henry Cejudo seriously. At least not yet.

At UFC 273, Volkanovski won his featherweight title. He dominated the Korean Zombie and stopped him in round four. Cejudo announced that he was re-enrolling into the USADA testing pool to officially end his retirement in order to fight Volkanovski. But just because Cejudo says he’s coming back, doesn’t mean the champ is interested. Cejudo has not said so.

“I’ll take him serious — once he’s in the pool,” Volkanovski told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “You obviously can take him serious [then], but he still needs to prove himself in our division.”

Volkanovski has reason to doubt Cejudo. The Olympic gold medalist has repeated angled for a fight with Volkanovski over the past year, including earlier this year when Max Holloway was forced out of their scheduled title fight, and Cejudo campaigned strongly for the chance to step in, despite being officially retired and ineligible to compete, per the UFC’s rules with USADA. Volkanovski is skeptical about Cejudo’s true intentions after the incident.

“I respect the guy. He does what he wants and that’s all. I don’t hate the guy. Volkanovski stated that he has many great achievements and that he respects him both as a fighter as well as as an athlete. He was giving Zombie crap about the fight… then he suddenly joined his side. He was very much bagging me, and now he wants to be noticed. He wasn’t in the test pool, but he was there staring at me and couldn’t believe that I hadn’t chosen him. Mate, I know that you don’t fight. So why waste your breath and should you let me spend my own breath? So that’s why I don’t take it too serious.”

For his part, Cejudo does appear to be serious about a return. “Triple C” has allegedly followed through on his plans to return to the USADA testing pool, and remains adamant that he can be the main to defeat Volkanovski. He does, however, still seem to be intent on getting an immediate title shot, instead of fighting someone else, a scenario UFC President Dana White has not seemed interested in. And given that, Volkanovski is unfazed by Cejudo’s proclamations.

“That’s what I mean. Volkanovski asked, “Why am I going to waste energy?” “It’s possible right now, but we don’t know who it will be. So maybe you are asking why I am even discussing it.

Instead, Volkanovski is focusing on his battles against Dana White. Following UFC 273, White shot down the idea of the UFC returning to Australia any time soon due to the complications that COVID may present, but Volkanovski hopes he can change White’s mind.

” I’m confident and comfortable enough to have that conversation, even if it’s just a brief one. It would be easy to stay out of the conversation. But I’m gonna at least talk to him. We can talk to him. They love bringing UFC to Australia. It sells out arenas all the time. And you have a champion who hasn’t yet defended his belt within his country…

“Let me defend my belt here in Australia. That’s it. That’s all the really matters.”