Alexander Volkanovski recently revealed that he will be the official back-up for UFC 280’s lightweight title bout between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira. Should either fighter be unable to compete in Abu Dhabi come October 22nd, the featherweight champ will step up to lightweight and compete for a second title.
Speaking as a former double champ himself, Henry Cejudo thinks that’s a bad idea. He’s convinced it’s such a mistake that he’s made an eight minute video detailing all the reasons why Volkanovski is shooting himself in the foot with the move.
“A lot of you guys are going to think I’m being a hater,” Cejudo said. “But I’m going to tell you why this is a mistake for Alexander Volkanovski.”
“Alexander Volkanovski: number one, you’re going to get that second title shot. The UFC confirmed to you that you’re the next person in line to fight for the lightweight title. Why don’t you just wait? If for some reason Charles Oliveira pulls out of the fight – because that’s the only guy that will literally pull out of the fight because of weight issues or X,Y, and Z of not making weight. But that being said, let’s say hypothetically, if you were to fight a guy like Islam Makhachev, that’s the worst match-up that you could ever pick. It’s not a smart idea, Alexander.”
“For me, I will never be a replacement fighter,” Cejudo continued. “You know why? Because I take my credentials too serious. As I should. I take my career, my legacy, too serious … as I should. Why don’t you just wait, maybe fight somebody in February? I know somebody, he’s talking right here. But I get it. I’m going to fight my way back. I’m going to fight you. And then we can settle the score. But that being said, I think you shouldn’t be doing things like this.”
“Because the simple fact is, when you fight for a double title, you should take your time. Taking your time is the best thing that you could do. Because right now you’re not giving yourself a fighter’s chance. You’re just fighting to see ‘Okay, I’m going to fight and I’m going to see if I could win.’ Not only will you lose, but you’ll also lose your pound-for-pound status. When you have that pound-for-pound status, even though it’s voted by these damn analysts who have never fought in their life, but I will say you are pound-for-pound right now. You will lose that.”
Cejudo’s objections to Volkanovski moving up make a lot more sense once you realize he’s still angling for an immediate title shot against the featherweight champion when he returns in early 2023. And ‘Triple C’ clearly believes Islam Makhachev beats Alexander Volkanovski, making the whole thing a bad idea in his mind no matter what the circumstances.
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) August 11, 2022
For Alexander ‘The Great,’ it still makes sense. He believes he can beat Makhachev or Oliveira. He sees it as a shortcut and a way to avoid any delays due to injury or happenstance. And he’s used the possibility of stepping in at UFC 280 as fuel for his training as he prepares for his shot at double champ status.
In general, Henry Cejudo may not be the best man to be doling out UFC career advice. This is a fighter that prematurely retired from the sport over pay issues, relinquishing both his title and angering the UFC in the process. It’s still unclear whether ‘The King of Cringe’ has the goodwill needed to negotiate a pay raise when he’s finally cleared to fight again.
What do you think, PENN Nation? Is Henry Cejudo right in this case, or is Alexander Volkanovski building his brand with the UFC and fans with his willingness to fight anyone at any time? Let us know in the comments!