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Morning Report: Alexander Volkanovski to Henry Cejudo: ‘Stay in your lane’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As you may have heard, Henry Cejudo had himself a weekend, becoming the UFC’s fourth ever champ-champ by claiming the UFC bantamweight title, and anointing himself the greatest combat sport athlete ever in the process. And even though Cejudo has accomplished so much in the past year, the Olympic gold medalist has his sights set on even more gold, the UFC featherweight title. But top contender Alexander Volkanovski believes that is a bridge too far for Cejudo.

Speaking recently with Submission Radio, Volkanovski addressed Cejudo’s desire to jump up in weight again, telling the two-weight world champion he needs to hold his horses.

“Stay in your lane, Henry. Come on mate,” Volkanovski said.

“Honestly, what he’s done is unbelievable. It was good on him. I actually picked him to win. I didn’t expect him to have so many problems earlier. I knew the guy was powerful. Maybe the ankle was why was he was sort of cowering to the kicks a little bit, if you know what I mean. . . So for him to overcome that and get it done, good on him. Him coming to 145, you gotta be quick in this division, but we’re still quick and we’re just a whole another powerful type of beast. And we’re a stacked division, a lot of very tough guys in our division that I don’t think he’ll want any of that. But maybe he’ll give it a crack, maybe UFC will let him do it. But yeah, that will change quick.”

Cejudo has been generating a lot of talk lately with his call outs but what the UFC plans to do is anyone’s guess. However, if the triple champ does get a shot up at featherweight, Volkanovski believes he would be where the run ends.

“Well, he ain’t gonna take me down,” Volkanovski said. “And if he does, I’m getting back up. And again, I got the cardio, and then again, I’m just gonna be too powerful. And again, I’m good on the outside. He’s gonna be a lot shorter than me. You see what I can use in my range, even with tall people, imagine what I could do to someone half my size. That will be interesting. But look man, again, he’s an athlete, he really is, he’s explosive, he still would be dangerous and quick, but at the same time, I just think he’ll have a puncher’s chance. But him being that light, I don’t think that’s likely.”

Of course, Cejudo’s plan to move up wasn’t really intended to be against Volkanovski. Cejudo’s comments about moving up to featherweight were predicated on Frankie Edgar winning his title shot against Max Holloway later this summer, so it’s easy to see why Volkanovski would feel the need to shut down Cejudo. Volkanovksi was passed over for the title shot in favor of Edgar already, a decision he was not happy with.

“Obviously I was dirty on it,” Volkanovski said. “Like, what the hell? But, you know, again, I always try and stay positive. Even when you’re in a hospital bed worrying about your leg being chopped off, getting the title off you, you know what I mean? I was hit pretty hard all at once. But at the same time I was like, well, it is what it is, I’m still looking, let’s get this leg better. I still want that title by the end of the year. So, you know, that still looks like that’s the plans anyway. So, let them fight.

“If anyone was gonna grass cut the title in front of me I’m glad it was Frankie. Frankie was someone that does deserve it. He’s been around, he’s done great things for the sport, he is a top bloke. So, good on him. But at the same time, if he wins or someone gets injured on July 26th, I’m filling in for that spot and I’ll take that title on. I’ll be ready. I’m gonna fight fit, I’m gonna stay on weight. But if not, whoever wins can take me on later that year. I want that belt before the end of 2019. That’s my goal. So one more fight and I want that belt before the end of the year.”

Volkanovski certainly deserves a title shot. In his last fight he outworked former two-time champion Jose Aldo to win a unanimous decision in Brazil. Had he not suffered a bacterial infection on his way home, Volkanovski may well have gotten his title shot. Instead he’ll have to wait, assuming he doesn’t get passed over by Cejudo jumping another weight class. But when he does get his chance, he plans to make Holloway, a fighter who recently also dabbled in bumping up a weight class, make that move for good.

“Mate, I think he will eventually move up,” Volkanovski said. “He’s probably got his heart set on featherweight right now. Again, you know I’m not one to talk shit, but I’ll fight him and I’ll make his decision for him, and then he’ll go back up to lightweight. Again, I plan on taking that title in 2019. So once he feels that, why suffer at 145 when I’m the champ? [Laughs] We will see. We’ll see what happens. But again, he’s probably got his heart set on featherweight, but that will change soon.”


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Top to bottom, this may be Bellator’s best card ever. Well worth a Friday night in. Enjoy it and see y’all on Monday.



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