If ever given the opportunity, Henry Cejudo is highly confident that he’d be able to beat former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.
Although he announced his retirement last May following a successful title defense against Dominick Cruz, the 34-year-old Cejudo, a former Olympic gold medalist and two-division UFC champion, has continued to tease a potential return to competition.
Most recently, he listed Holloway as a name that intrigues him should he actually make a return to the cage.
“I have never called out Holloway (until now),” Cejudo told ESPN (H/T MMAJunkie) on Tuesday. “(Find) any video where I’ve actually called out Holloway. Even when he had the belt, I’ve never called out Max Holloway. He’s another fight that I feel like in the future I would love to fight.”
Although he’s held titles at 125 pounds and 135 pounds, Cejudo has never competed at featherweight. He has, however, often expressed his interest in challenging 145-pound titleholder Alexander Volkanovski in hopes of adding another belt to his collection.
With his callout of Holloway, it seems as if Cejudo is driven solely by the challenge that the 29-year-old would present.
“I love the fact that people do not believe that I can beat him,” Cejudo said. “… I think that Max Holloway fight, because nobody would believe me, is the same reason why I would want that fight. He’s taller than me. He’s inflicted a lot more damage on different people. But I feel like I’m just too smart and just too skilled. I’d love the challenge if I were to ever fight Max Holloway.”
Holloway, widely regarded as one of the best featherweights of all-time, is coming off a brilliant victory over Calvin Kattar earlier this year in Abu Dhabi and is next expected to once again challenge for the 145-pound title.
If “Blessed” can recapture that title, Cejudo would love a chance to test himself against the Hawaiian, and the 34-year-old has an idea of what it would take to be victorious in that scenario.
“I think my IQ, I think my smartness (is the difference),” Cejudo said. “Of course, he has range. I would be the distance. This is the thing, man: Watch my Dominick Cruz fight. Look at how much taller he is than me and look at how I was able to manage the distance, taking his legs out, the timing portion of it. I think it’s just my IQ. … I personally feel that there’s no doubt in my mind that I can beat him.
“Now, it’s just kind of getting the opportunity (or) shot. … I would love for Max Holloway to win that belt again. I would love to go in there and fight him and to demonstrate to the world how great ‘Triple C’ is. I don’t dare to be great. I am damn great.”
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.