Former Olympic gold medalist and UFC flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo had a big night at UFC 215. At the event in Edmonton on Saturday, he finished another former title challenger, Brazil’s Wilson Reis. The end came via a crushing knockout early in the second round. For Cejudo, the bonus winning performance was a step in the right direction — a direction that should take him to a rematch with champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
It’s been a long road back to the win column for Cejudo, who suffered the first two losses of his professional career prior to UFC 215. “When I fought Demetrious, I was only in MMA for exactly three years” he told assembled members of media at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I’m still growing as a fighter. I never did amateurs as a mixed martial artist, I went straight pro. I was kind of in the fast lane a little bit. I’m slowly improving.”
Cejudo knows the division is in flux at the moment, with the scrapped UFC 215 headliner of Johnson vs. Ray Borg liked to be rescheduled in the near future. And of course there’s the surging Sergio Pettis, currently on a four-fight win streak at flyweight. If Johnson is tied up, is that a fight the storied wrestler would be interested in?
“I like that fight” said Cejudo when asked about fighting the younger Pettis brother. “But like I told you before, I’m fighting people accordingly. I can do karate, I can box, and lets not forget about my wrestling. But I know he’s one guy that wants me, and so do I.”
“I just got to sit down with my team – I don’t make decisions on my own. But yeah absolutely. I want to fight the best guys out there” he finished.
The ultimate goal, of course, is a rematch with Mighty Mouse, a fighter Cejudo called out to from the cage after his win Saturday night. Johnson was in the crowd. “It was more like an approval” explained Cejudo in regards to what he told Johnson. “‘Am I getting better?’ I mean no disrespect to the champ, he’s there for a reason.”
In the end, though, “I do want to fight him.”
He would expand on that later, when asked what he felt the time frame might be for a second shot at a fighter many consider one of the modern greats. For Cejudo, he wants the fight, but also knows how the game works.
“I lost my last two fights, I haven’t won in two years. How do you think I feel?” he asked. “Do I want a title shot? Yeah, but realistically it’s up to the matchmakers. I’m getting better and better and better. DJ’s up there. And I’ll be honest with myself, I gotta be there technically at the same level as him before I fight him. Because I’ll be ready, and this time I’m not going to get hit to the body. Because he beat me in a grey area. He beat me in an area I’d thought I’d be better than him. Body shots hurt. Body shots are mean.”
Nevertheless, he expects to be the one to upset the champ. “I’m the one. I’m the one. I know I’m the one. I have the style, I have the wrestling. I know I’m the one to beat Demetrious Johnson.”