Saturday, October 23, 2021

Volkanovski: If Henry Cejudo Fight Happens, It’ll Have To Be Soon

UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has responded to Henry Cejudo‘s latest callout, suggesting it’s now or never for the matchup.

Volkanovski was in action last weekend at UFC 266. In the main event, he successfully defended his 145-pound gold for the second time against Brian Ortega. After the pair’s stint as opposition coaches on season 29 of The Ultimate Fighter, and with some fiery words exchanged during fight week, the animosity between them certainly seemed higher heading into their fight than it had been when they were originally scheduled to clash at UFC 260.

In what will likely be a Fight of the Year contender, both men left everything inside the Octagon until the final horn. Despite recording a comfortable victory on the scorecards, the Australian looked in trouble in the third frame. Two tight submission attempts, a mounted guillotine and a triangle choke, looked certain to secure title success for Ortega. After miraculously escaping, “The Great” closed the fight out and ensured he’d be taking the featherweight title back to Australia.

In a talent-rich division, Volkanovski has some exciting fights awaiting him while he remains at the division’s mountaintop. However, there may well be one extra contender entering the picture, former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo. “Triple C” has long called out the champion, and continued to do so following Volkanovski’s recent success at UFC 266.

Before retiring as the bantamweight and flyweight king, Cejudo had seemingly been considering a move up to 145 pounds. While the former Olympian appears to be having the itch to return and do so now, Volkanovski isn’t convinced it’ll happen. During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, the New South Wales native suggested that Dana White and the UFC don’t take Cejudo seriously.

“He’s always chirping. He’s chirping about everyone, but obviously we’ll see what they do. That’s not going to happen… I don’t even think Dana White answers his calls. That’s why he’s going to go and keep calling people out. He’s been calling out everyone and nothing’s ever on paper. I don’t think they’re taking him serious,” Volkanovski said. (h/t MiddleEasy)

Despite that, Volkanovski admitted that he’d be open to facing Cejudo, but only because he’s looking to fight regularly. The 32-year-old suggested that it would have to happen soon if it were to happen at all.

“Would I be interested in it? Well, purely because I want to fight regularly and I don’t want to wait so long. If there was ever a chance, it probably would be soon… Of course he doesn’t deserve it. I can respect him, he’s done great things in his divisions, but this is featherweight.”

Cejudo, who is widely considered one of the greatest lower weight class fighters in UFC history, called time on his career following his successful bantamweight title defense against Dominick Cruz last May. The 34-year-old had established his dominance with victorious over Demetrious Johnson, Marlon Moraes, and TJ Dillashaw beforehand.

“Triple C” has consistently teased a return ever since hanging up his gloves. If he is to return to the Octagon, it stands to reason a clash with Volkanovski and the chance to secure his third UFC belt is the most likely scenario.

How do you think Henry Cejudo would fare against Alexander Volkanovski?

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