The stars of UFC 249 made their first contact with each other ahead of the event via a conference call on Tuesday afternoon.
As the most unique fight week in MMA history gets underway amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the stars of UFC 249 had their first and only encounter ahead of Saturday’s event. The only catch: it was by phone. With the changes to the fight week itinerary to practice as much social distancing as possible, the fighters competing on the card will be kept apart from each other and not have any contact with anyone outside of their team and the UFC staff until they are locked in the cage with their opponents on fight night. And so the closest Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, plus Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz, will come is a phone call.
Co-headliners Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz stole the show, if you’re entertained by such antics, by exchanging words in-between questions on the conference call.
“You know what, I think every fight that you have is your most important fight,” Cejudo said initially, when asked where fighting the man many consider the best bantamweight of all time stands among his accomplishments. “I do respect Dominick’s skills. I do know that he’s tricky,” the 135lb champ admitted, but went on to say that he could make the adjustments necessary to win the bout.
It wasn’t long, however, before Cejudo started with some trash talk. Initially aimed at some of the other contenders not present on the call. After dismissing Aljamain Sterling for being knocked out by Marlon Moraes, Cejudo added “Petr Yan, he’s got scattered English, and he absolutely sucks! You can’t beat a 41-year old and expect to get a title shot. That’s just ridiculous.” He then began referring to Dominick Cruz as Dominique.
When Cruz brought up the 33 million Americans who have filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus, Cejudo responded by saying “You better start collecting unemployment checks because I’m taking your ass out!” Cejudo continued on, adding “‘Dominique!’ You know I’m the real deal. You know I’m coming. You ain’t getting past three rounds.”
“Cool story,” Cruz retorted. “And I know you’re going to have a hard time finding me little man.”
“When you’re in there missing, you’re gonna find out real quick the difference,” Cruz added, “and the amount of rounds that I’ve got in there over you. I’ve got hours in there over you, little man. You’re a wrestler. I’m about to prove that and expose you real quick.”
Cruz would later accuse the champ of “flaunting his credentials,” adding that they were meaningless to anyone but Cejudo himself.
“You’re brittle, and you break everything,” Cejudo later fired at Cruz, calling him Princess. “You just came off surgery, does that make you brittle?” Cruz fired back.
Henry Cejudo and Dominick Cruz begin talking at the start at 00:00 in the video above. Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje begin their portion of the call at 27:05.