The reigning UFC bantamweight champion was originally scheduled to face Jose Aldo before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled international travel, which prevented the Brazilian from traveling to the United States. That’s how Cruz ultimately got the call to face Cejudo on short notice.
Despite those hiccups, Cejudo hopes to dispatch Cruz this Saturday night and then revisit the fight with Aldo for his next title defense. After that, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist would like to add yet another championship to his resume, that also includes a run with the flyweight belt.
“I told Uncle Dana [White] after I beat up ‘Dominique’ I’m going to be stomping on Jose Baldo’s toes next,” Cejudo said during Tuesday’s UFC 249 media conference call. “After that, Alexander Volkanovski, that overgrown midget, he’s next.”
Cejudo has talked about moving up to 145 pounds several times in the past while getting into a war of words with Volkanovski, who became featherweight champion in 2019 with a victory over Max Holloway.
While Volkanovski has downplayed the possible matchup, Cejudo seems intent on making that move as he seeks to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in three different divisions.
If he can make it happen, Cejudo would make an even stronger case that he is arguably the greatest combat sports athlete of all time but there’s only one problem with that particular strategy.
There are a long line of bantamweight contenders on win streaks against ranked opponents who are facing off with each other rather than getting a shot at Cejudo’s gold.
Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen all had valid arguments to earn a title shot ahead of Cruz, who is coming off a loss in his last fight that took place back in 2016. Instead, Sterling is rumored to fight Sandhagen in his next fight while Yan is scheduled to take on one-time bantamweight title challenger Marlon Moraes in June.
If Cejudo has his way, all three of those fighters will have to do more than earn one more win to get his attention as he sets his sights on bigger and better goals.
“I’m going tell them to wait for their chance,” Cejudo said about the bantamweight contenders. “Wait for their king to tell them to bend the knee. Aljamain Sterling got knocked out by the guy that I knocked out. Wait in line.
“Then Petr Yan, he needs to learn better English. He absolutely sucks. You can’t beat a 41-year-old [in Urijah Faber] and expect to get a title shot. That’s just ridiculous. I’d rather fight someone who hasn’t fought in four years as in Dominick.”