UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo said he is still willing to defend his 135-pound title on the originally scheduled date of May 9, but would like the promotion to let him know soon if it’s feasible.
Cejudo (15-2) was scheduled to face Jose Aldo at UFC 250 in Rio de Janeiro, but those plans were put on hold indefinitely due to the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The UFC has suspended all events and does not have a time frame for a return, though UFC president Dana White has made it clear he wants to resume as soon as possible.
Cejudo, 33, told ESPN on Monday he is still in camp for a potential title bout, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to do so.
“I think we need to have a conversation with Dana and everybody there, because you don’t want to train and have them give you a certain date, and then you’re not peaking at the right time,” Cejudo said. “My training is very methodical. Everything I do has to be precise, to make sure I’m 100 percent. You can’t surprise me before, two weeks.
“I need to know today. I don’t have time to waste if this is going to happen. The UFC has postponed a lot of things and people spend their hard-earned money on camps, training partners, strength and conditioning coaches. I imagine whether we fight or not the UFC will compensate a lot of guys who were under contract and had fights.”
White told ESPN the promotion would take care of every fighter scheduled to compete on the postponed UFC 249 event that was supposed to take place Saturday.
Very few details are known regarding the status of UFC 250, although there have been reports the UFC is considering holding the event in a different location, and Aldo’s inability to travel outside of Brazil would remove him from the event. White has even mentioned the possibility of holding events on a mysterious ‘Fight Island.’
On Monday, Cejudo said he is open to fighting former champions Dominick Cruz or Frankie Edgar, if the event in fact goes through.
“I thought about it, with Dominick, he’s unpredictable,” Cejudo said. “He’s too brittle. I’m afraid to sign a contract with him because I’m afraid he won’t show up. Frankie Edgar, he was one of the first people I called out. That’s a fight that’s always kind of given me that appetite for him. He cut to 135, but he’s a former champion at 155 [pounds]. That really intrigues me.”
Cejudo said he respects the UFC’s recent efforts to keep UFC 249 alive but said he doesn’t want to find himself in a similar position one month from now, having a fight date pulled out from under him after he has already invested in a full camp.
“I get what Dana is trying to do for the fighters’ sake, but it’s kind of like, ‘Here, want some pizza? Nope. Want some candy? Nope,'” Cejudo said. “We’re professionals. We should be able to know. That’s all I’m saying.”