This weekend’s bantamweight championship co-main occasion received a fast enhance following Tuesday’s UFC 249 convention name.
Champion Henry Cejudo and former, longtime 135-pound title holder Dominick Cruz kicked off the festivities forward of Saturday evening’s occasion on the VyStar Veterans Memorial Area in Jacksonville, Fla. Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will meet for the interim light-weight title in the principle occasion.
For the primary 10 minutes or so, issues had been civil between Cejudo and Cruz. Nevertheless, tensions rose after MMA Preventing requested Cruz a query with reference to his capacity to bounce again from lengthy layoffs—as he’ll on Saturday following his final battle over three years in the past. As soon as the challenger completed his response, the champion made his transfer.
“You higher begin accumulating unemployment checks as a result of I’m taking your ass out,” Cejudo stated. “‘Dominique!’ You understand I’m the actual deal. You understand I’m coming. You ain’t getting previous three rounds.”
“Yeah, okay. You’re brief, I do know that,” Cruz responded. “And I do know that you just’re gonna have a tough time discovering me, little man.”
“Keep in mind that, ‘Princess,’” Cejudo stated.
“Okay. We’ll see, man,” Cruz answered. “If you’re in there lacking, you’re gonna discover out actual fast the distinction, and the quantity of rounds that I’ve received in there over you. I’ve received hours in there over you, little man. You’re a wrestler. I’m about to show that and expose you actual fast.”
The trade lasted a number of minutes throughout the name. Cejudo, who will make his first protection since capturing the title in opposition to Marlon Moraes on the UFC 238 this previous June, additionally captured the UFC flyweight title with a win over the load class’ solely champion on the time, Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 in August 2018. 5 months later, Cejudo completed then-bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in simply 32 seconds to retain his 125-pound strap.
Each fighters are coming off of shoulder accidents forward of the UFC’s first occasion since March 14 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Cruz’s final battle occurred in December 2016 when he misplaced the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt by way of unanimous choice.
Cruz has dealt together with his share of accidents all through his profession and Cejudo took the chance to level that out throughout the name.
“You simply attempt to not break a nail, Princess. You simply be sure to make it on Might 9,” Cejudo stated.
“You’re coming off of shoulder surgical procedure, too, powerful man,” Cruz stated. “How are you any extra powerful than me? You’re simply getting back from surgical procedure after a 12 months. (Have) you ever completed that? Nope. I’ve completed it a number of instances.”
“I’ve been the UFC flyweight champion, I’m the bantamweight champion of the world, and I’m the best fight sports activities athlete of all-time,” Cejudo stated.
“We’ll see about that. There you go, plugging your credentials once more, however none of these imply something to anyone,” Cruz stated. “It doesn’t make a distinction for anyone however your self. I had the belt for 10 years…”
“You solely fought two instances in 10 years, Dominick,” Cejudo interrupted.
“I fought many instances in 10 years and, you realize what? I’ve extra title fights than you as nicely. Keep in mind that, too,” Cruz responded. “All you need to do it have a look at the numbers, Henry. You’re catching up, bro. You may win three extra title fights and nonetheless be catching as much as me.”
“Nicely you show it to me, Princess, on Might 9. As a result of on Might 9—like I stated earlier than—I’m serving GOAT,” Cejudo exclaimed.
The back-and-forth would proceed at instances all through the rest of the 30 minute name. Each Cejudo and Cruz know what’s at stake on Saturday evening in Jacksonville and it goes nicely past a world title belt.
Cejudo can take one other step in the direction of profession greatness, whereas Cruz can cement his placement among the many pound-for-pound champions and legends of the game—though the previous UFC and World Excessive Cagefighting champion believes he already has.
“They don’t have a Michael Jordan of MMA,” Cejudo stated in response to a query about what Saturday’s battle might imply for his legacy.
“It’s me,” Cruz stated. “I’m the Michael Jordan of 135.”
Take a look at the complete UFC 249 convention name within the video above.