Cejudo (16-2) has been in the news of late because of his war of words with UFC boss Dana White over the chance to become a three-division champion by facing featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. However, that doesn’t mean “The Messenger” wouldn’t still be down for a scrap with interim 135-pound champion and pound-for-pound talent Yan (16-2).
The 34-year-old one-time bantamweight titlist believes he would fair very well against Yan. Far better than current champion Aljamain Sterling did in their March 2020 bout. “Funkmaster” is a dominant wrestler who was awarded a disqualification victory over the Russian after an illegal knee from Yan in the fourth round of a fight Sterling was clearly losing.
Cejudo likens himself to a multi-sport version of Michael Jordan, and he would love to show the interim champ how good he is in front of his home country fans in Mother Russia.
Henry Cejudo explains why he would do to Petr Yan what Aljamain Sterling couldn’t
“I would love to go to Russia and fight that ugly potato in Russia. Holding up a Russian flag this time and beating his ass in front of his own countrymen,” Cejudo told MMAJunkie recently. “Yes, I will take that dude down. Yeah, he’s a great striker. I could tell you that. When I talk about position, composure, and distance, Petr Yan is really good at it, but I’m too much of a competitor. I’m too smart for this dude.
“I will take him down, and I will literally drown his ass with my wrestling. We’ll put him against the cage, and I ain’t no Aljamain Sterling, guys. I am so much more technical. I am so much better than these dudes,” he continued. “I am at a whole other level of competitors. Michael Jordan, he was the best at basketball. Think about it if he was able to do that in football. That’s what I’ve been able to do. What I’m saying is I have that competitive edge. I have that experience, and I just need that shot, and I need that bag full of money.”
Cejudo will only return when the money is right
Cejudo retired from the sport in 2020 following a successful bantamweight title defense against division GOAT Dominick Cruz. His decision to walk away from the sport was based on his belief he was deserving a serious increase in pay as a former Olympic gold medalist and defending two-division UFC champion. And it remains the hold up in any possible future fight against Yan, or even Volkanovski.
“At the end of the day, I could talk all this talk, but if I don’t get paid, I’m just not doing it,” he said. “It’s got to be worth my legacy. Am I being a b*tch, or am I being honest? I’m being honest. I am a little upset. I am a little pissed.”
Yan will have his long-awaited rematch with Sterling in April in the co-main event of UFC 273. Volkanovski will defend his featherweight title on the same card in the night’s headliner against Chan Sung Jung.