Cejudo’s manager Ali Abdelaziz said this week that his fighter, who retired in May 2020, is targeting a return to the Octagon next February to challenge Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight title.
Volkanovski, however, is being more realistic about the situation.
“The UFC ain’t taking him serious,” the 33-year-old Australian told The AllStar. “I guarantee the UFC isn’t paying him what he wants. If he is fighting, the bargaining hasn’t gone in his favor at all. And he’s just fighting for whatever contract he was already originally on. The UFC isn’t throwing anything to me so I’m not going to waste my time by pretending to hype it up.”
“It’s a win-win situation for him if he goes to the featherweight division and fights me. He loses….does that look that bad on his end? Not really. Even though we’re not that far apart in size cause I’m pretty small for a featherweight anyway. But at the end of the day, people are gonna be it’s a featherweight beating a flyweight-bantamweight. That doesn’t help my legacy at all. His legacy if he wins, that’s huge. If he loses, it doesn’t affect much because I feel like he’s expected to lose.”
Volkonovski has burnished his championship credentials with a 20-fight winning streak, including a dominant title defence against Brian Ortega at UFC 266 in September. A potential match-up with Cejudo, who won a wrestling gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics, offers plenty of fodder for fight fans to speculate over.
After rising to the top of the wrestling world, Cejudo made his mixed-martial arts debut in March 2013. He signed with the UFC in July the following year.
`Triple C’ fought for six years at the highest level, snaring the flyweight and bantamweight titles along the way. He retired in May 2020 after defending his bantamweight belt against Dominick Cruz, seemingly bringing his career to a close with a 16-2 record.
Still, speculation of Cejudo’s return has floated around the fight circles for months, and has since been confirmed by his manager.
Volkanovski did give Cejudo a glimmer of hope and laid out a scenario in which the Olympian would warrant an immediate title shot.
“He’s been retired. You go out there and prove yourself in the bantamweight decision, take that belt back again, which is going to be a hard one because Petr Yan ain’t no joke,” Volkanovski said.
“You go and do that, then I think he deserves to push in front of the line. One hundred percent. Because he’s active again and he goes out, takes it. Now he can go for double champ. You can’t sit there, retired, and expect to come back and just jump in front of the line. That just doesn’t really work.
“The timing has to be perfect. As in, there is no one else. The UFC throws him my way. We make it. We get the paycheck. Alright, let’s go do this just for the sake of it. For the sake of a paycheck. Go out there and do a lot of people a favor by beating up the cringe as well.”
Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski is a 33 year old male fighter from Australia with 23 pro wins and 1 loss. Volkanovski most recently fought Brian Ortega at UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega on Saturday September 25, 2021.
Volkanovski’s recent form coming into this matchup
Alexander Volkanovski has gone 5-0 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.