Petr Yan isn’t against Henry Cejudo fighting for the vacant UFC bantamweight title.
Yan, a rising bantamweight contender, said he understands why the promotion would want Cejudo, the current flyweight champion, to return to 135 pounds to fight Marlon Moraes for the vacant title.
“Since Cejudo beat T.J. at 125 and they were planning to have a rematch at 135, it kind of makes sense that Henry will fight for the vacant belt,” Yan told Bloody Elbow through a translator. “Other challengers can fight for No. 1 contender spot at that time.”
T.J. Dillashaw was the bantamweight champion until last week, when he failed a drug test and relinquished his belt. The drug test was administered by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, before his Jan. 19 bout against Cejudo. Dillashaw dropped down to challenge Cejudo for a second title, but lost via TKO less than a minute into the first round.
Prior to Dillashaw’s positive test, the UFC wanted him to defend his title against Cejudo in a rematch. Yan said Dillashaw likely knows he used a banned substance or else he would have already come out and denied the test and wouldn’t have vacated the title. It is still unknown what substance Dillashaw tested positive for.
Since that news was announced, bantamweight contenders Aljamain Sterling and Pedro Munhoz have called for the vacant title fight, presumably against Moraes, the No. 1-ranked bantamweight. But UFC president Dana White said on Saturday that the promotion is looking at booking Moraes vs. Cejudo instead.
Yan said Sterling probably deserved the vacant title fight, too, but brushed off Munhoz’s claim that he deserves a shot at UFC gold. Munhoz is coming off a TKO win over former champ Cody Garbrandt at UFC 235 earlier this month. However, Munhoz holds a 2018 loss to John Dodson, whom Yan just beat in February.
After Munhoz’s upset of Garbrandt, Yan called it a “lucky punch” that finished “No Love,” and the pair went back and forth on social media and in interviews.
“Munhoz is getting ahead of himself,” Yan said. “He beat Cody who was on two-fight losing streak and lost to Dodson not long time ago.”
For now, Yan is waiting for another fight, hopefully in June or July, he said. Yan said Jimmie Rivera, Munhoz, and Garbrandt “are all hiding in the hole,” but added that he ultimately doesn’t care who he fights next.
“I called out Rivera but he still remains silent, can you tell him not to be scared?” Yan said. “Then I called out Pedrito but that coward don’t want to fight me either. I didn’t want to call out Cody at first because I don’t want to kick someone when he is down, it will be too easy for me, but since no one else want to fight I had to call him out, too.”
Yan said he would have “gladly taken” the opportunity to fight for the vacant title, but doesn’t seem too upset he’s wasn’t chosen.
“If they gave me the chance to challenge (for) the title I would (have) gladly taken it,” Yan said. “But now I’m happy to get one more win to prove I’m the next contender in line. If UFC wants me to get couple more wins I don’t mind either — as long as I’m fighting someone higher than me in the rankings.”