A shot against Alexander Volkanovski and a chance to make history was enough for Henry Cejudo to come out of retirement and return to active competition. But it appears as though that scenario was unlikely to happen, according to UFC president Dana White.
Earlier this month, the promotion announced that Volkanovski and Max Holloway would be fighting again for the featherweight championship at UFC 272, an upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for March. However, the trilogy fight was canceled after the former champion suffered an injury in training and was forced to withdraw. The vacancy led to several names offering to replace Holloway, including Cejudo.
The former two-division champion has been hinting at fighting again, nearly two years removed from when he announced his retirement from the sport. Cejudo fought for the final time at UFC 249, where he successfully defended his bantamweight title with a second-round technical knockout of Dominick Cruz.
Though he believed now would be the perfect time for a comeback, his request to meet Volkanovski went unheard and the UFC brass turned to Chan Sung Jung (The Korean Zombie) instead. Miffed by the rejection, Cejudo scoffed at Volkanovski vs. Jung, but there is a very clear reason as to why it was made. White spoke to Adam Catterall of BT Sport to explain why Jung, and not Cejudo, got the fight against the champion.
“I can tell you this: The ‘Korean Zombie’ has been here fighting,” said White. “This guy’s retired. He’s been off for how many years now? And he wants to come in and fight Alexander Volkanovski? You know what I mean? You’ve got guys like the Zombie, Josh Emmett, Giga [Chikadze] who’s fighting this weekend. You’ve got these guys who are in here doing it three times a year and working their way up.
“For Cejudo to retire and then just think he should be able to come in and jump into any weight division and take on the champion, it’s not how it works.”
Cejudo has already responded to White and insisted that he was unafraid of jumping into the fray, if it meant he could become a three-division champion. The Olympic Gold medalist also explained how his situation differs from Georges St-Pierre, the former UFC welterweight champion who returned from a hiatus to vie for — and win — the middleweight title from then-champion Michael Bisping. St-Pierre vacated the title shortly after and has not competed since then.
The 35-year-old has no interest in doing what St-Pierre did and would defend all three of his belts if given a chance.
“I’m just an ultimate competitor and I would be the first fighter in UFC history to become a three-division champ, which I know is very, very doable,” said Cejudo on The Triple C and Schmo Show. “Alexander Volkanovski 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,” continued Cejudo. “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 my belts and I want to see how far is it that I can actually take my body.”
So if I had blonde hair and blue eyes or if I was a Canadian with a accent,maybe you would give it to me? I defend both my belts unlike GPS. I left on top and retired on that Monday to give the rest of the division’S a chance. You are plain out scared that I will win.@danawhite pic.twitter.com/nlLyNwi1ne— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) January 14, 2022
With Cejudo officially ruled out, Volkanovski will defend his title at UFC 273 in April.