“So I should have jumped over everybody and gave it to him because last week he decided he’s not retired?” White told reporters after UFC Vegas 46. “C’mon man, this is a f*cking silly conversation.”
Cejudo, a former two-division UFC champion, retired suddenly in 2020 after defending the bantamweight belt. The Olympic gold medalist put a price on the possibility of his return to the octagon, but a deal did not materialize, and he instead focused on raising a family. Cejudo also became a regular troll of UFC champions like Volkanovski.
White again pointed out Cejudo’s career status when asked about the situation.
“Isn’t that guy retired?” White asked. “He’s retired, isn’t he? I mean, the last time I saw, he was retired, and now he’s mad that he didn’t get a title shot? It doesn’t even make sense. In a different weight class? It doesn’t make sense.”
When a trilogy between Volkanovski and former featherweight champ Max Holloway was scratched from UFC 272 due to a Holloway re-injury, Cejudo campaigned loudly to get the short-notice title shot in what would have been his UFC featherweight debut. But the fight ultimately went to one-time title challenger Chan Sung Jung after a bevy of other active fighters tried to get the fight.
White didn’t rule out the possibility of Cejudo returning to the octagon at some point. He indicated only that it would not be an opportunity simply granted because of his status as former champion.
On a recent podcast, Cejudo cited former champion Georges St-Pierre as an example of an ex-beltholder who jumped right into a title opportunity in facing middleweight champion Michael Bisping. He indicated he would not follow in St-Pierre’s footsteps by returning only to retire.
But for White, that example doesn’t hold sway.
“If he wants to come back and try to win the title again in his weight class, and then talk about moving up or doing something else — but you don’t just f*cking pop up and start calling somebody names and think that you’re going to get a title shot in a different weight class when you’ve been retired for, what, two, two-and-a-half years?” the UFC exec said.
Cejudo claimed White was “scared” and the UFC “didn’t trust their fighters.”
“They don’t want it and I’m even sick and tired of trolling Volkanovski if the fight’s never gonna happen,” he said. “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.”
For White, the entire point is moot if Cejudo remains on the sidelines.