Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz doesn’t understand why the media is entertaining Henry Cejudo’s hints at a return to the Octagon.
Cejudo is widely regarded as one of the best fighters in the promotion’s history. After back-to-back losses to Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson in 2016, “Triple C” built a memorable six-fight win streak that included championship crownings at both flyweight and bantamweight.
After dethroning “Mighty Mouse” in their rematch at UFC 227, Cejudo went on to defend the 125-pound belt against former 135-pound king TJ Dillashaw, become a simultaneous two-division champ with a TKO victory over Marlon Moraes, and defend his bantamweight gold against Cruz, who’s in the conversation for the division’s greatest of all time.
To the surprise of most, Cejudo chose to hang up his gloves following his win against “The Dominator” last May. Not even two years later, having consistently teased a return ever since UFC 249, talks of a Cejudo comeback have intensified. In the aftermath of Alexander Volkanovski’s title defense against Brian Ortega at UFC 266, “The Messenger” exchanged words with the champ over social media, and suggested he could come out of retirement in an attempt to become the first fighter to have won championships in three UFC divisions.
With Volkanovski seemingly willing to face Cejudo, and Ali Abdelaziz’s admission that the 34-year-old wants to commit to more than just a one-and-done return, it seems more likely than ever that we’ll see “Triple C” back in action.
Despite that, Dominick Cruz doesn’t believe Cejudo’s words should be covered until his comeback is set in stone. Speaking during a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, the former bantamweight champ accused publications like ESPN of promoting the comments and opinions of a retired “troll” who can’t be held accountable for what he says.
“I think that, if I’m being honest, the fact that we’re even talking about somebody who’s retired, ESPN’s promoting people who’ve retired, I don’t understand it. It makes no sense to me. You’re retired… Is he in the testing pool? So he’s retired. One, if he’s not in the testing pool, who knows what that means, right. Two, if you’re retired, then there’s no vulnerability, you can say whatever you want and not be held accountable, ever. There’s no accountability held because you retired.
“So, you can run around being all these retired athletes, I don’t even need to say their names, and say how great you are and say all this because there’s nothing, there’s no way to make you pay for your words, you’re basically a troll… you’re a keyboard warrior now.”
Despite acknowledging Cejudo’s achievements in the sport prior to his retirement, Cruz suggested that if the former double champion speaks ill of other fighters and doesn’t return, it’s simply for the purpose of building a clout, which he sees as “weakness.”
“I hear that you did amazing things while you were in the sport, I respect that, okay. I’m not here to botch what you’ve already done. But you’re done. When you get back in the testing pool, then I believe ESPN and all these people should be talking to these athletes. But why are we promoting people who have nothing, there’s nothing that they’re gonna pay for for what they say… it’s not fair.
“If I talk, I gotta pay for it. They’re gonna put me against so and so, they’re gonna botch my pay or they’re gonna, who knows what, right. But when they talk, when these retired athletes talk about other fighters, what are they doing? They’re only building their clout off the back of active athletes who are putting themselves on the line. That’s weakness at it’s finest.”
Despite showing respect to each other when they clashed last year, it seems Cejudo’s recent antics haven’t been in line with the type of conduct Cruz agrees with.
Since his loss to “Triple C,” Cruz has looked to make his way back up the bantamweight ladder. That conquest began against Casey Kenney at UFC 259. Having got past him via a split decision, Cruz will fight further up the rankings in his next outing. He’s set to meet entertaining contender Pedro Munhoz at UFC 269 on December 11.
If Cruz continues his run of form and Cejudo re-enters the fray, perhaps a rematch between the pair will go down later down the line, one without Keith Petersen refereeing if Cruz has any input on the matter…
Do you agree with Dominick Cruz? Should Henry Cejudo’s interactions with active fighters be covered while he’s retired?
Continue Reading Cruz Doesn’t Understand Why The Media Promotes “Troll” Cejudo at MMA News.