“I am the greatest combat athlete of all time. And I just stole the title of best pound-for-pound fighter too!”
That was Henry Cejudo screaming at the mic shortly after his impressive win over Marlon Moraes at UFC 238. The 32-year-old now has an incredible resume that has seen him win Olympic gold medal in wrestling, and UFC championships in two divisions.
While Dana White said he was “blown away” and “never gonna doubt” Cejudo again, the UFC President poured cold water on the two-division champion’s bold claims.
“I heard he also said he’s the pound for pound best in the world,” White said on the post-fight press conference. “Listen, it’s awesome that he believes in himself like that and he’s so confident. But you gotta be realistic. You’ve got Jon Jones out there. Khabib’s never lost, he’s undefeated. And look at the guys these guys have run through, and look at how long Jon Jones has defended his title. Yeah, so...”
“Wouldn’t Jon Jones be the best combat sports athlete of all time? Probably? Yeah,” White said. “There’s so many people out there. How about Amanda Nunes? She beat every big name out there. Khabib... you know how hard it is to go undefeated? And he’s in a nasty divisino too. Sugar Ray Robinson. Yeah, that’s a tough one to claim. There’s been a lot of bad human beings out there.
“Look at Shevchenko. Look what she’s doing right now, where she’s headed. It’s tough to call yourself the greatest right now, let alone the greatest to ever live,” White said. “I like his spirit though.”
White is correct that it is hard to make those bold claims this early, especially when talking about the entire combat sports. Boxing of course have seen numerous Olympic gold medalists achieve great success like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and more recently, two-time gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko.
On the other hand, the UFC President could’ve also put on his promoter’s hat and given Cejudo more props in this pound-for-pound discussion in MMA. It is Cejudo’s big night after all, and I’d certainly rank the Olympic champion’s achievements well above those of Shevchenko and Nunes’ at the very least.