When you enter Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling and an undefeated mixed martial arts (MMA) record, you're sure to attract some attention.
Such is the case with No. 5-ranked flyweight contender Henry Cejudo, who sizes up jiu-jitsu ace Jussier Formiga at UFC Fight Night 78 in Monterrey, Mexico tonight (Sat., Nov. 21, 2015).
"The Messenger" was thrown right into the deep end of the the 125-pound waters upon his entrance into the Octagon just under a year ago, first running through Dustin Kimura, before facing steeper challenges in former title challenger Chris Cariaso and top-15 opponent Chico Camus.
But now, the 28-year-old wrestling standout will clash with the renowned ground fighter Formiga, whose won four of his last five.
Cejudo's take on the Brazilian's MMA weaponry (via MMAjunkie):
"[On the fight being a wrestling vs. jiu-jitsu matchup] Not really, it's MMA now. I consider myself -- I'll always be a wrestler at heart. I made the transition -- I'm a fighter now. I just can't wrestle anymore. I believe he's a sleeping giant, kind of like Rafael dos Anjos. He's kind of maturing a little later in his career. I think he has a thorn in his back that he wants to pull out and he wants to beat me. I can tell he has nothing to lose ... I think they're all talking about me. I think Demetrious Johnson -- they all want me. They want America's sweetheart [laughs]. They all want America's golden boy. They all want to fight me. I'll be looking forward to that date when it comes."
That's a lot of high praise Cejudo is sending the way of the "underdog" Formiga, who aims to play the role of spoiler later this evening.
It's important to note that Formiga's two losses in UFC have come against top-notch opponents, including two-time title challenger's John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez, so the former does have much to prove in the eyes of his employer.
For the Mexican-American Cejudo, it's all about validation and even if it's a dominant decision win, we should expect him to be the next challenger to 125-pound ruler Demetrious Johnson's throne.
For more on the UFC Fight Night 78: 'Magny vs. Gastelum' card and results, click here and here.