Henry Cejudo continues to get more and more serious about his comeback and he knows exactly what he wants.
The former two-division UFC titleholder’s last fight came a full two years ago on May 9, 2020, when he scored a second-round TKO against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. Now, according to him, Cejudo has re-entered the USADA testing pool and has his path going forward all mapped out and it begins with reclaiming his bantamweight crown currently worn by Aljamain Sterling.
Recently sitting down with Daniel Cormier, both men came face-to-face to discuss their potential matchup.
“Why am I coming back?” Cejudo asked. “Because my ability is still there and I’ll be quite honest, when I did retire, and it was a legit retirement… satisfied. Full, you know what I’m saying? Where’s the drive? What was gonna push me? Especially when it came to the compensation piece. Everything that I’ve done from the theatrics to the f****** character to all that stuff, I feel like I’ve done enough. Let me take a break from the sport or maybe even be finished for good. But I kept myself in the game coaching guys like Jon Jones, Deiveson Figueiredo, [Zhang] Weili, Cris ‘Cyborg’ [Justino], Jiri Prochazka, the best of the best. I’ve stayed in the game and analyzed everyone and I just feel like such a smarter person now and have ever been before.”
Sterling won the title in March 2021 against Petr Yan in a historic fashion, suffering an illegal knee resulting in Yan’s disqualification. “The Funkmaster” recently justified the result as he earned a split decision nod in their UFC 273 rematch this past month.
Admittedly, Cejudo didn’t expect Sterling to be the champion upon his return. Ready to return in November and begin seeking big paydays along with that third divisional title, Cejudo wants Sterling, a T.J. Dillashaw rematch, then featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski in his home of Australia.
“Too many flaws. I’m going to expose him,” Cejudo said of Sterling. “He’s got a lot of flaws. As good as he is, he’s got an ability to him, and I think that is his greatest asset: his limbs. But I still don’t think he understands his whole capabilities just yet. Think about it this way, I’m 5-foot-4, small, short, but I know how to fight people where people don’t touch me. I know how to wrestle people, I’m a better competitor than I am a fighter. So when I see a guy like Aljamain Sterling, that’s easy money.
“He’s got the belt, but he’s not the best in the world. If you’re talking about competing, you’ll never be a better competitor than me. But everyone has a puncher’s chance.”
Due to the nature of Sterling’s title victory, he received an unprecedented amount of criticism from the MMA community. To hear Cejudo directly express his feelings right in front of him was nothing the Uniondale, New York native hasn’t heard many times before.
“I didn’t know if the guy was serious or not,” Sterling said of Cejudo coming back. “I like my chances. I’ve heard it all. I’ve had people doubt me for literally 13 months telling me I’m gonna get done any way possible like we’re in a prison cell and this guy’s gonna bend me over backwards and have his way. What else can people say? I just go out there and do what I gotta do, put the work in and show up for work, punch the clock in and walk out with the hand raised.
“I like proving people wrong. It’s satisfying. There’s something very satisfying about talking your s***, then being the guy who walks away like, ‘How bout that?’ It’s not s*** talking [in this case], but somebody has to eat their words and that’s what makes it all the more satisfying because someone has to eat the humble pie. I feel like Henry — he’s had enough pie — but he hasn’t had enough humble pie.”
Respectfully playful despite the competitive nature of the conversation, Cejudo responded with a laugh saying: “He ain’t lying.”
In terms of how the fight would play out, the current bantamweight champion draws similarities to one of the aforementioned Volkanovski’s. However, it was interestingly assessed as Sterling equated himself more to Brian Ortega, who lost to Volkanovski in their UFC 266 clash last September. At the same time, the champ noted he hasn’t done much studying of Cejudo since there’s been no need to for the past two years.
“I think it might be similar to a Volkanovski-Ortega except the difference is I can wrestle,” Sterling said. “I’m not gonna say I beat him down, he’s not just gonna sit there and take it. He would be Volkanovski, I would be Ortega in terms of the submission but I can actually wrestle. No offense, Ortega.”
Response. Tony Ferguson fires back at ‘hiding’ Dustin Poirier, ‘fake’ Conor McGregor.
Feud. Sean O’Malley believes Marlon Vera has finally ‘earned’ his rematch, wants it after Pedro Munhoz.
Cancelation. Joe Lauzon: ‘It sucks’ that Donald Cerrone was forced out of UFC 274, unsure if fight will be rebooked.
Zzz. Carla Esparza: Rose Namajunas ‘lost the fight to herself’ at UFC 274, ‘you can’t win a fight by defending.’
Reactions. Tony Ferguson praises Michael Chandler after UFC 274 loss, Chandler responds and takes aim at Nate Diaz, Charles Oliveira.
Trilogy. Dana White slams door on Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas 3: ‘I don’t think anyone is clamoring for that rematch.’
The MMA Hour.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
— Bruno Massami (Бруно Массами) (@BrMassami) May 9, 2022
Was worth a shot.
this is more entertaining than the Rose fight pic.twitter.com/XVSyV2sVa9
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) May 9, 2022
A lot of names being said by Iron Michelangelo but I’m not hearing mine. Respectfully
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) May 9, 2022
Chuck and Tony.
— OMGItsScotty (@JoeRogansSoul) May 9, 2022
I’m excited to fight in July on #UFC276
My Nana G (great grandma) turns 100 in July and I’m trying to get home for her bday party.
I’m also trying to pay out my mamas mortgage so she doesn’t have to stress about money.
I’m doing my best and I’m excited for this fight!!!
— Jessy Jess (@missjessyjess) May 9, 2022
Rankings come out tomorrow. Tell me a second round lawn chair folding of #7 doesn’t propel me to #3 ahead of two guys who finished guys in less dominant fashion than that. #ufcrankings
— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) May 9, 2022
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) May 8, 2022
15 years ago today,
It was announced that Chuck Liddell would be the first fighter in UFC history to grace the cover of ESPN Magazine. pic.twitter.com/PZvR0B8PrS
— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) May 9, 2022
Here are odds on Charles Oliveira’s next opponent after #UFC274, courtesy of @betonline_ag:
Islam Makhachev (-150)
Conor McGregor (+225)
Michael Chandler (+550)
Beneil Dariush (+700)
Rafael dos Anjos (+900)
Alex Volkanovski (+1000)
Max Holloway (+2000)
— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) May 9, 2022
Foes turned friends.
We’re among big dogs, up&downs are part of our jorneys. I admire you a lot @tonyfergusonxt. You’ve the history inside the Octagon. Head up “El Cucuy”!
— Charles ‘DoBronxs’ Oliveira (@CharlesDoBronxs) May 9, 2022
We see you, Geoff.
I’ve BEEN sitting right here trying to get matched up with you and both times you were “hurt”. July 30th. Let’s get it
— Geoff (handzofsteel) Neal (@handzofsteelmma) May 10, 2022
That was a pretty fun idea and chat from “DC.” Henry is quite a confident dude and for good reason. I’m definitely much more interested in that potential fight now. Thanks for reading!