UFC 249: Henry Cejudo Turns Up the Cringe — Until It Comes to TJ Dillashaw

At UFC 249, expect the debut of Triple C v2.0

“I’ve got cringier if you haven’t noticed,” Henry Cejudo explained when asked what the Triple C v2.0 was all about, at the UFC 249 media day. Cejudo, a former double-champ who defends his bantamweight title this weekend, has embraced his role as the most cringe-worthy character in the UFC. It dates back to stunts like beating a fake snake ahead of his fight with T.J. Dillashaw last year.

Snake in the grass. Dillashaw’s a snake. Get it?

This year, it’s knee-slappers like Jose “Baldo” and “Dominique” Cruz. Comedy gold.

Bad jokes aside, Cejudo is a very legit fighter in the cage, and when Dominick Cruz enters their fight at UFC 249, it will have been nearly four years since the ex-champ has competed. That said, Cejudo is taking the threat seriously.

“I’m expecting the best Dominick Cruz to come on Saturday night. But I hope he also expects the best Triple C. When I’m firing on all cylinders, I don’t think there’s any man, anything that can [beat me],” said Cejudo. Then, it was back into cringe-mode. “Not even Francis Ngannou.”

Of course, Ngannou outweighs Cejudo by over 100lbs. But then, who’s counting? “Bring on that French Fry,” he quipped. Cue groans.

There’s one topic — aside from his fight with Cruz, which Cejudo is no doubt taking seriously, whatever cracks he makes — that Cejudo was entirely straight about. That’s disgraced ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw.

Dillashaw, after losing a flyweight title bid against Cejudo in January 2019, was suspended two years following positive tests for EPO. That’s the same banned substance that ended the career, and reputation, of cyclist Lance Armstrong. He was also stripped of the bantamweight title, which Cejudo would go on to win.

Calling the opportunity to fight someone in the octagon “an honor,” Cejudo admitted that “I almost feel embarrassed, like I feel dirty even talking about T.J. I don’t think there’s anything in my heart that I even want to fight that dude. I really don’t.”

“You shake hands with somebody and you guys go out there and compete, and the next thing you know he’s on some sh*t,” he continued. “EPO so you can’t get tired, the same thing that Lance Armstrong was on. I don’t even think I ever want to fight that dude like ever again. I truly mean that.”

Dillashaw will be eligible to return to action on January 19, 2021. By then, the bantamweight landscape could look very different. After Dominick Cruz, names like Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan remain in play.

Henry Cejudo defends his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz in the co-main event of UFC 249 this Saturday, May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. The event takes place live on PPV, following televised and online prelims on ESPN and ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).