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Henry Cejudo on Conor McGregor: 'If you think you're higher than UFC,' then 'maybe you should get pulled'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- Less than a day after the UFC surprised the mixed martial arts world by pulling Conor McGregor off of UFC 200, flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo took a hard stance in support of the organization's decision.

"I think it's good for the UFC," Cejudo said Wednesday at the UFC 197 open workouts. "The UFC, they need to start stepping up and doing things like that. If you think you're higher than UFC, if you think you're better than all the other fighters, then maybe you should get pulled. So, I think it's a good discipline."

McGregor was removed from the July 9 card on Tuesday following a bizarre series of events which began when the UFC featherweight champion announced his retirement from the sport on Twitter. Hours later, UFC president Dana White pulled McGregor out of his headlining spot opposite Nate Diaz at UFC 200, citing a refusal by McGregor to fly from Iceland to Las Vegas to fulfill promotional duties for the event.

White doubled down on those claims on Wednesday, insisting that money was never an issue and that the UFC still had a good working relationship with its biggest star.

McGregor has remained silent since the initial retirement tweet, although he drew no sympathy from his fellow UFC titleholder, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who fights Cejudo on Saturday at UFC 197.

"Look, I've flown to Australia coach," Johnson said. "I've flown from Seattle to LAX, LAX to Sydney, Sydney to Brisbane, Brisbane to Melbourne, Melbourne to Sydney, Sydney to LAX, LAX back to Seattle, trained for six weeks, did the same thing, and fought. This is how I make my money. This is how I pay my bills, and ever since the UFC has ever asked me about anything or asked me to do something, I've never turned it down.

"If the man wants to retire, he can do whatever he wants. But, good thing the UFC was like, ‘if you're not going to come to the press conference, we're going to have to pull you.' Conor was like, ‘sweet, thanks for the cheese, I'm out.' They're both doing their thing."

As for McGregor's retirement, both Johnson and Cejudo stand in agreement with White's belief that the Irishman will return to the Octagon before all is said and done.

"He'll be back, man," Cejudo said. "Not everything that shines is gold. He'll be back."