Corey Sandhagen doesn’t think Henry Cejudo deserves an immediate title shot on his return.
This past weekend, Sandhagen defeated Son Yadong in the main event at UFC Vegas 60, snapping a two-game losing streak and keeping his name in bantamweight title talk. However, this conversation is pretty intense at the moment as Petr Yan, Sean O’Malley, Merab Dvalishvili and Marlon Vera are also vying for their next title fight. Add to that the possibility of Cejudo coming back to reclaim the belt and there’s a real bottleneck at the top of 135-pounds, but Sandhagen, for one, doesn’t think Cejudo should be part of it.
“What is he doing? I don’t know what the hell this guy is doing,” Sandhagen said on Hour of MMA. âIf it is his decision, he will forever remain a crooked ball.
âHe has been away for such a long time. Why is the UFC doing this? Why would they invest in someone who would probably just settle down after winning the title again? I don’t really see Henry as someone to lean on because I don’t think he’s going to last long. I think he will try to pick a few fights, have another title fight, be it money or inheritance – what his motives are, I can’t really say – but I really don’t think he’s going to do that because he wants to stay. He’s going to do it because – I don’t know why the hell he’s going to do it. I just do not understand. I just don’t see him hanging around.”
Sandhagen’s fears are not unfounded. Cejudo faced criticism for his only title defense, a win over Dominick Cruz, who hadn’t fought in over three years, and when he retired immediately afterwards, some suggested he was dodging the growing number of bantamweight contenders. Those rumors only intensified during Cejudo’s retirement as the former two-division champion repeatedly teased a comeback in an attempt to fight featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
The UFC has repeatedly turned Cejudo off in this regard, with Dana White claiming that Cejudo is retired and will need to fight before getting a 145-pound title shot, apparently fearful of a different Georges St-Pierre situation. In response to White’s announcement, Cejudo officially waived his retirement and re-entered the USADA testing pool earlier this year and will officially be eligible to compete again in October. So if he comes back, Sandhagen says he would be happy to be the one to welcome Cejudo back to the cage.
âThatâs great too,â Sandhagen said. âI also agree with this fight. I didn’t think too much about Henry, but to fight someone as good as Henry would be really cool.”
Sandhagen is currently ranked #4 bantamweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings and previously challenged for the interim title at 135 pounds after losing a unanimous decision to Petr Yan at UFC 267.
Cejudo, meanwhile, is only the fourth person in history to hold titles in two UFC weight divisions at the same time, having won the flyweight and bantamweight titles in his career.