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Manager: Henry Cejudo ‘100 percent’ returning in 2022, angling for Volkanovski fight in February

Cejudo’s manager Ali Abdelaziz is working to get the Olympic gold medalist a shot at featherweight gold in his return bout.

UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Henry Cejudo is undoubtedly one of the best mixed martial artists on the face of the earth. As an Olympic gold medalist and former champ champ, he definitely deserves more love and credit than he gets.

It’s just hard to take him too seriously when he spends so much time on Twitter talking like he wants to fight when there’s absolutely no evidence he’s going to come out of retirement. Once he dropped out of the USADA testing pool in March of 2021, that was it as far as anticipation goes whenever he’d start dishing on Twitter like he was about to come back and fight someone.

But according to Cejudo’s manager Ali Abdelaziz, Cejudo isn’t done yet. “Triple C” reportedly re-entered the USADA testing pool at the start of October, and his manager thinks he’s definitely going to compete next year.

“Yes, I do,” Abdelaziz said when asked by MMA Fighting if Cejudo fights in 2022. “100-percent I do. I think he does.”

“If he [loses a featherweight title fight], he can go down to 135. He’s not coming in for one fight. He’s coming in for a legacy fight to get three belts but at the end of the day, too, there’s a lot of fights at 135 and 145, too, it’s no problem. He’s a competitor. As long as he’s breathing, this guy’s going to be a competitor.”

The big fight Cejudo has been stumping for on social media is against Alexander Volkanovski and there’s two big hurdles that need to be jumped in order to make it happen: first, the UFC is gonna have to pay Cejudo what he feel’s he’s worth — something the UFC has seemed completely unwilling to do up until this point. And second, Cejudo is going to have to convince the UFC he won’t drop the belts and walk away again like he did after winning the flyweight and bantamweight titles.

That’s where Ali comes in.

“I understand the UFC title is the most coveted title in all of sports,” Ali said. “You can’t just win a title and bounce, especially if you promise you’re going to defend it. I can guarantee this, if I know one-percent that Henry will bounce, I will not be involved in it. Because, it’s important to keep my word as a man, to anybody, not just to Dana or to Sean or to anybody in the UFC. As a man, I would like to know I’m the one who kept his word at all costs. I think Henry is this guy, too. He’s an honorable guy, he’s always going to keep his word.”

As far as Abdelaziz is concerned, Cejudo is the perfect person to step in and break the stalemate at the top of the division where Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway just keep fighting each other over and over again.

“Of course Max deserves it too but I think timing will be great because Henry can fight [Volkanovski] in February and Max can fight the winner,” Abdelaziz said. “But also it’s a huge gap in the division. You have Alexander, you have Max and it’s a huge gap and you have someone like Giga [Chikadze], who has a seven-fight winning streak. Giga has a fight. I think it’s the perfect time for Henry to come in and see what he can do in the division. If he wins, he can fight Max and after that he can fight Giga. In reality, it’s a really great fight. It’s a really big fight.”

Abdelaziz is one of the top managers in the UFC because he understands the promotion is like a conveyor belt rapidly pumping out events. Keep providing the UFC with options to fill out the top of those events and the chances of them saying yes are much higher than if you just come to them with money or title shot demands.

Volkanovski vs. Cejudo in February is a pretty solid fight, and the perfect way to pump UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker up from a solid card to stacked. Will the UFC accept?