Alex Volkanovski may have inadvertently shown his hand.
That’s according to former UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo, who believes the featherweight Aussie should not have been as candid as he was during his UFC 294 post-fight interview. An emotional Volkanovski revealed the “struggle” that led to his lightweight rematch against current champion Islam Makhachev on less than two weeks’ notice.
The result was a first-round knockout loss.
“I put myself in his position,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “I think the biggest mistake that Alexander could do is share a lot of who he is as a person to the people. Why do I say that? ‘I’m going through anxieties, I need to stay busy guys, I go crazy if I don’t stay busy or if I don’t fight.’ If I’m a competitor and I’m seeing all that, especially seeing him get knocked out, you know what I’m gonna be doing? I’m gonna be picking at him.”
“If I’m Ilia, if I know that he’s concussed, and I know that he goes crazy when he’s not fighting or he’s at home or he goes through anxiety. If I’m Ilia Topuria, you guys know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking about calling this dude out and getting him to step up still on January 20th to have a better chance of actually beating him. You see, there’s times when you’ve gotta keep things to yourself. When you don’t keep things to yourself, you start to expose yourself.”
Volkanovski, 35, remains in talks to defend his 145-pound title against No. 5-ranked featherweight contender Ilia Topuria atop the UFC 297 pay-per-view (PPV) card on Jan. 20 in Toronto, giving “The Great” less than three months to prepare for what could be his toughest test to date (based on early scouting reports).
“If I’m Ilia Topuria on the flip side, you know what I’m thinking? I have to pick a fight with him,” Cejudo continued. “I have to get him to fight me on January 20th because the simple fact that he’s concussed. He’s concussed, it’s not the same Alexander Volkanovski that was out here finishing all these opponents … he’s not the same guy.”
“If I’m Alexander Volkanovski on the flip side, you know what I’m doing? I gotta humble myself,” Cejudo said. “I gotta allow my brain to heal for the next six months. I’ve been concussed. Being concussed or going through a knockout, it takes you a minute for you to really kind of start walking that straight line. So there’s two sides. Volk, take your damn time. I wouldn’t necessarily be in a rush. You’re gonna have to humble yourself. Yeah, I’m saying humble yourself because it shouldn’t be about ego or pride. It should be about winning.”
Expect a decision on UFC 297 in the next few weeks … if not sooner.