Volkanovski recently returned to action for the first time in over a year. Having won the 145-pound belt from Max Holloway at UFC 245 in December 2019, “The Great” faced “Blessed” in an immediate rematch on Fight Island last summer. In an extremely tight and competitive five-round affair, the Australian left the Octagon with the gold after falling on the right side of a split decision.
Brian Ortega, who’d only lost in MMA to Holloway at the time, was slated to challenge for the title for the second time at UFC 260 in March. His #1-contender status came after an impressive return win against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. After the champ tested positive for COVID-19, the bout was postponed.
In the end, the pair signed on as coaches for this year’s return of The Ultimate Fighter, before eventually meeting inside the Octagon at UFC 266 last month. In a main event classic, Volkanovski successfully defended his belt with a unanimous decision victory.
Alexander Volkanovski Addresses Henry Cejudo
In the aftermath of his 20th consecutive win in the sport, Volkanovski was called out by the retired Cejudo, who is seemingly after a blockbuster comeback fight. “Triple C” hasn’t fought since a successful bantamweight title defense against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 last May, after which he called time on his career.
With the likely title eliminator between Holloway and Yair Rodriguez still weeks away, many have suggested Volkanovski’s path to remaining active should go through “The Messenger.” Others have claimed Cejudo hasn’t done anything to deserve an immediate championship opportunity at 145 pounds.
Discussing the potential matchup during an interview with ESPN MMA, Volkanovski suggested he’d gain nothing from beating a retired bantamweight and flyweight fighter returning to the Octagon. He did, however, leave the door open to the fight should the UFC offer him a lucrative paycheck.
“People are gonna throw out Henry Cejudo (as a possible next opponent). But again, does he deserve to just jump the queue when he’s been retired for how long? You know, what do I get out of beating him up anyway? Does that move me anywhere? It’s a paycheck. If I do it, it’s purely for the pay check.”
Further questioning why he’d grant Cejudo the chance to become the UFC’s first ever three-division champion, Volkanovski said that while he respects the 34-year-old’s achievements, the expected outcome would be a dominant victory for the Aussie.
“He’s talking about his legacy and all that kinda stuff, yeah, yeah you get a lot out of it. No one cares if I beat you up like I would, you know what I mean? Because at the end of the day, ‘Ah he moved up.’ No one gives me credit for beating you up because that’s expected to happen. Everyone knows that’s what I’m gonna do.
“You go out there and somehow make it happen, mate, that works well for you, but why does he even get that puncher’s chance? Why should I give him that puncher’s chance when that’s all I believe he has, if that. No disrespect to him, I’ve got a lot of respect, I think he’s got a lot of skills, but I’m used to big boys trying to put a beating on me… You’re not gonna out strategize me and whatnot, you ain’t gonna hurt me, so it just doesn’t make sense… If they wanna throw money at it I’ll be like, ‘Hey, alright, I’ll give him that chance.'”
How do you think Henry Cejudo would fare against UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski?