Zhang, the former UFC women’s Strawweight champion, and Figueiredo, the former UFC men’s Flyweight champion, are training with Cejudo ahead of their respective rematches against reigning champions Rose Namajunas and Brandon Moreno.
“It’s great,” Cejudo told MMAMania.com about working with the two former champs. “It’s beautiful because I’m able to see their mistakes and to see how far they have come from the traditional training they’ve been doing to them coming to see the stuff that I’ve done — these guys have trusted me with my expertise to help them regain their belts. Both of them.
“They’re both at my gym right now and I train with both of them first-hand every morning,” he continued. “We go over tactics and techniques. I’m not a coach, I’m a counselor. I can only counsel you to let you know, ‘Listen, what I feel that I think you have to do according to facts. How is it that you fight? How is it that we can break somebody down?’”
Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist who simultaneously held UFC’s Bantamweight and Flyweight titles, is using the reps as preparation for a potential showdown with reigning Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski.
“I’m still young. I’m 34-years-old. I’m not injured, I’m strong. At the end of the day, it’s all up to my bossman, uncle Dana White,” Cejudo says. “If he wants to make the fight happen, he’ll make it happen. I think both parties are going to have to be happy and that’s it. I know I’ll beat Volkanovski and I think the UFC is afraid that I’ll have a one-off like Georges St-Pierre [vs. Michael Bisping]. I’m not a sweepstakes winner where you win one fight. I’m not GSP where I cherry-pick.
“I’m literally going up against the guy who beat the best featherweights in history: Jose Aldo and Max Holloway. That’s who I’m going up against. But if I don’t get the fight, I feel good about it. I’m happy with my career. I’m satisfied. I’m cool. If they don’t give it to me it’s because they know I’ll beat him or they don’t want me to have a third belt. Plain and simple.”
Namajunas vs. Zhang 2 takes place at UFC 268 inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 6, 2021, streaming online via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV). Moreno vs. Figueiredo 2 takes place at UFC 270 inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Sat., Jan. 22, 2021 (also streaming via ESPN+ PPV).
Finished reading this story? The party doesn’t have to stop. Click here to get more exclusive interviews.