Henry Cejudo discussed Ruiz-Joshua, Patricio Pitbull, and phantom injuries at the UFC 238 open workouts — though he did not work out himself.
Chicago, IL — The talk on Wednesday, heading into UFC 238, was about injuries. A supposed knee injury to Henry Cejudo, that might, maybe, force him out of action. The rumor mill was churning. It always it, when it comes to big fights.
Rest easy, fight fans. “Absolutely not. I’m good, I’m strong, I’m healthy. I don’t know where that came from,” Cejudo told reporters including Cageside Press at the UFC 238 open workouts.
Of course, the flyweight champion, set to move up in weight to vie for a belt at 135lbs, didn’t help things by not working out. But that was on his team, he said. “They don’t want me to do particular things. You guys have kept up with my social media, I’m good.”
Maybe he does know where the rumor came from after all, however. Cejudo, who will take on Marlon Moraes for the belt vacated by the suspended T.J Dillashaw, then added “I did have a little bump on my knee, on my right knee. I hit the edge of the damn corner, but it hurt. That’s it.”
“Is TMZ still following me? What’s going on?” he exclaimed about the news slipping out.
No matter. If you take Henry Cejudo at face value, he’s good to go, looking ahead to what he says is “the biggest fight of my career.”
“I mean it is. The reality is, this guy’s tough. Marlon Moraes, he’s dangerous. He’s got powerful kicks, powerful hands. But this is why I enjoy competition. This is why I do compete. I’m pretty much competing against myself.” Moraes might have another take on that. And fans might be surprised to hear that it’s Moraes, not former flyweight champ and pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson, that Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist, sees as his biggest fight.
But then, there’s that common refrain from fighters. The next fight is always the biggest, always the toughest. For Cejudo, it’s all about seeing “how far can I take this? How far can I take the mind, body and soul while making history?”
The loss of Dillashaw as an opponent — Cejudo, if you recall, defeated the then-bantamweight champ at UFC Brooklyn earlier this year, at flyweight — didn’t even change anything for him.
“No. It did at the beginning, but once that whole thing with TJ and the EPO, I never want to fight that guy again,” stated Cejudo. “Because it’s not fair. So rightfully so, Marlon deserved the title shot. So I’m happy with it. He’s more dangerous too. I enjoy competition. I strive through it.”
One of the inspirations for the flyweight champ, meanwhile, is Bellator double-champ and teammate Patricio Freire, a.k.a. Patricio Pitbull. The Brazilian recently captured lightweight gold in the rival promotion by knocking out Michael Chandler.
“That’s a guy I emulate. That’s a guy that I admire, that I look up to, that I call, that I get advice from,” Cejudo said of teammate Pitbull. “To me, Patricio’s one of the pound-for-pounds. You guys might not have him on your radar, but the dude is one nasty human being. You don’t take out Chandler, Chandler could possibly take out Khabib, you could make an argument. Look at what this featherweight has done. It’s incredible.”
“He’s a big part of my success, I must say.”
Cejudo also gave his take on the Ruiz-Joshua fight Wednesday. “Being an American of Mexican descent, or being Mexican-American, however you want to call it, it’s a victory for all of us,” he told reporters. “Because that’s the lineage of all these Mexican warriors who have won. Even going back to Cain Velasquez in MMA. I mean this stuff has set the path for me to become the best. So it’s a victory for all of us, and yeah man, you can look like an average Joe outside, you can beat up a chiseled guy. It’s inspiring to me, it’s inspiring to every little kid that raised in his area that he’s going to touch. Congratulations to him.”
“By the way,” Cejudo finished, “I have a gold medal, and a belt. And I’m going to add another belt! Later!”