UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo’s outfit and antics during UFC 238 media day Thursday in Chicago went viral, even though the premise needed explaining.
Cejudo, who will move up to 135 pounds and fight Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight title in the main event of Saturday’s card at United Center, showed up Thursday in a robe and crown before pulling a few items out of a hat.
The outfit signified his belief that he’s on the verge of becoming the sport’s pound-for-pound king. The magic act was more a statement on his lack of belief in the legitimacy of Moraes’ success.
“I don’t believe in magic,” he later told reporters. “I believe tricks are for kids.”
Cejudo, 32, said that the items he took out of the hat represented the two fighters he has defeated in title bouts and the one he plans to beat Saturday.
“I pulled out Mickey Mouse, which is (former champ Demetrious Johnson),” Cejudo said. “I pulled out the snake, which is (T.J. Dillashaw). And then I pulled out the rabbit, which was Marlon Moraes, and then I kicked it. That’s my magic trick.
“I don’t believe in magic. It’s all a bunch of illusions. Show me Saturday night.”
Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist, can join Amanda Nunes, the women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion, as the only current two-division titleholders.
He knows how much is at stake in terms of legacy.
“Not just financially, but also the pound-for-pound status,” he said. “My resume speaks for itself. People lie, kids lie, you lie, your wife lies. Numbers don’t lie. Two belts. I’ll be the only guy in the UFC. That’s all I want.”
The bout headlines an ESPN Plus pay-per-view card that includes a women’s flyweight title bout between champion Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Eye.
Ferguson doesn’t mince words
Tony Ferguson understands that some people are uncomfortable with him fighting Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 238 just a few months after troubling reports about his mental health.
But he doesn’t care.
“I tell them to (expletive) off,” he told USA Today this week. “Stop worrying about (things) you can’t handle. It’s not your problem.”
Police visited Ferguson’s home on multiple occasions this year, and his wife was granted a restraining order after she indicated he was in the midst of a mental health crisis.
As detailed by his wife in a filing, Ferguson thought they were under surveillance through the refrigerator, that she was a witch and their infant son was the second coming of Jesus, among other incidents.
The UFC required Ferguson to be cleared by doctors before he could return to competition.
Nurmagomedov fight finalized
Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend the belt against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi, the organization announced.
The title defense will be Nurmagomedov’s first since a win over Conor McGregor in October at T-Mobile Arena.
UFC president Dana White said McGregor wants a rematch but that nothing will be decided until after the Nurmagomedov-Poirier fight.
Saturday: UFC 238 (ESPN/ESPN Plus PPV), Chicago
Friday: Bellator 222 (DAZN), New York
June 22: Bellator 223 (DAZN), London
June 22: UFC Fight Night 153 (ESPN Plus), Greenville, S.C.