Over the last week, the UFC had to shift gears in regards to their featherweight title picture after Max Holloway was forced to withdraw from a targeted fight against champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 272 in March. The injury to Holloway saw a slew of names raise their hands for the opportunity to face Volkanovski, including former flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo, who announced his retirement from the sport after stopping Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in May 2020.
The title shot would go to Chan Sung Jung, who is targeted to face Volkanovski at April’s UFC 273 event. White was asked in a recent interview ahead of the promotion’s return to action this Saturday at UFC Vegas 46 why Cejudo didn’t get the fight.
“I can tell you this, ‘The Korean Zombie’ has been here fighting,” White told BT Sport. “This guy’s been retired. He’s been off for how many years now? And he wants to come in at fight Alexander Volkanovski?
“You got guys like the Zombie, Josh Emmett, Giga [Chikadze] — who is fighting this weekend — you’ve got these guys getting in there and doing it three times a year and working their way up. For Cejudo to retire and think he can jump into any weight division and take on the champion, that’s not how it works.”
The 34-year-old Cejudo turned the page on his fighting career following six straight victories. “The Messenger” defeated Demetrious Johnson to capture the flyweight title at UFC 227 in August 2018 before knocking out then bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in 32 seconds of his first title defense. at UFC on ESPN+ 1 in January 2019. Cejudo became a two-division champion in his next fight when he finished Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 for the vacant bantamweight title.
Never at a loss for words, Cejudo took the opportunity to give his side of the situation on Friday and stated he was absolutely serious about wanting the fight with Volkanovski.
“This is the thing guys, let’s put the cringe aside, let’s put the personas, the gimmick, let’s put that annoying character aside, at the end of the day, I’m just an ultimate competitor,” Cejudo said on The Triple C and Schmo Show. “I would be the first fighter in UFC history to become a three-division champ, which I know is very, very doable. Alexander Volkanovski, he doesn’t scare me. I literally put my name in the hat. As soon as I found out Max Holloway was there, I contacted Ali [Abdelaziz], and said, ‘Ali, make this fight happen, dude.’
“I have the credentials. I deserved it. It’s not like a GSP situation where I’m gonna win and then jet out. It’s different for me because I want to go in there, I want to defend all of my belts and see how far I can take my body. At the end of the day, Dana White, the UFC, they don’t trust in their fighters. They don’t have faith in Alexander Volkanovski, they really don’t, because if they did they would allow him to try to put me down.
“The thing is they’re scared. Dana White is scared. Dana White, the UFC, they don’t want it and I’m even sick and tired of trolling Volkanovski if the fight’s never gonna happen. It makes sense. Why not give me the opportunity, the chance to make history and become the first three-division champ? It’s a monopoly, man. They control the thing, and at the same time, if that’s the way it is then that’s the way it is. There’s really nothing you can do unless the fighters come together, make some sort of a partnership where we’re able to have a little more [of a] say.”