Cejudo, who vacated both the bantamweight and flyweights titles in 2020 when he announced his retirement following a TKO victory over Dominick Cruz, is back in the USADA testing pool and back on the hunt for gold.
Although it initially appeared that a comeback at featherweight was the sole desire for “Triple C,” he’s since gone back and forth with some prominent names in his former stomping ground — namely, UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling and rising star Sean O’Malley.
But while he’s appeared keen to regain the 135-pound strap from “Funkmaster,” Cejudo has reiterated that if he could avoid the need to do so, he would. Throughout all his other callouts and fighter interactions, Cejudo is still hanging onto his main goal — a history-making third title.
During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Marc Raimondi, Cejudo provided an update on his USADA status, confirming that he’ll be eligible to compete in October at the earliest. And though it’s long appeared that his eventual return will come at bantamweight, further success at that weight isn’t the ambition.
“I’m after gold Marc. Nobody beat me. I left, I relinquished my belts; I did all that. I was never stripped… I’m here to make history.” Cejudo said. “I’m targeting 145, man. At the end of the day, the only reason why I’m going down to 135 pounds, I’m gonna beat these dudes, is to eventually go up and become the first three-division champion in UFC history… These dudes (bantamweights) are not at my level.
“If I have to go down to 135 pounds, win my belt, to challenge Alexander Volkanovski, then that’s what I have to do. But my end goal Marc, as the Olympic champ, as the flyweight champ, and as the bantamweight champion of the world, is to conquer what’s never been conquered,” Cejudo added.
Cejudo “Still Hopeful” Of Returning Versus Volkanovski
Despite admitting that if he must re-conquer the bantamweight landscape to reach the opportunity to become a three-weight titleholder, he will, Cejudo did go on to say that he’s still hopeful of being thrust immediately into a featherweight championship fight.
And it appears that “The Messenger” believes his claim to a shot got stronger with the outcome of the recent UFC Long Island headliner, which saw a dislocated shoulder for Brian Ortega force an anticlimactic end to his collision with fellow top-five contender Yair Rodriguez.
“Honestly, I’m still hopeful that this Volkanovski fight is able to take place (next), especially with what happened with Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega. Obviously, Yair did win… but I’m not sure what the UFC is thinking.”
“My overall goal Marc, and you saw it, we saw it… the mutual respect that me and Volkanovski have. He’s only about an inch-and-a-half taller than me. We’re almost eye-to-eye, and this is your 145-pound champion,” Cejudo continued. “I’m the person to fight this dude… Nobody will give this dude the trouble, nobody will be able to sell this fight, like I would.”
How do you think Henry Cejudo would fare at featherweight against Alexander Volkanovski?