Alexander Volkanovski slips as reserve fighter, says former UFC champion

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“Be smart in what you do,” is the overarching message Henry Cejudo hopes to get across to UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.

Cejudo, a former two-division UFC champion, thinks Volkanovski’s recent deal to serve as the main event backup for UFC 280 isn’t smart for a variety of reasons. The event will take place on October 22 at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Most important, Cejudo said, is the seemingly rushed nature of the situation. Fresh out of surgery, Volkanovski turns around to travel the world for a fight that may not even happen. Given his status as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world in the eyes of many, Volkanovski will likely stand a chance of winning Oliveira against Makhachev anyway, Cejudo analyzed.

“A lot of you are going to think I’m a hater, but I’m going to tell you why it’s a mistake for Alexander Volkanovski,” Cejudo recently said in a video posted on his YouTube channel. “Alexander Volkanovski, #1, you’re going to get that second shot at the title. The UFC has confirmed to you that you’re the next person in line to fight for the lightweight title. Why don’t you wait?

If anyone pulls out, Cejudo thinks it will be Oliveira, which means Volkanovski will fight Makhachev — and that’s a bad fight, according to ‘The King of Cringe’.

“Let’s say hypothetically, if you had to fight a guy like Islam Makhachev, that’s the worst match you could have picked,” Cejudo said. “Because Islam Makhachev, he is, if you want to call him a ‘one-trick pony’, that one-trick pony of what he does, where you’ve never been while a guy with the power, strength and weight he’s going to have over you, that’s not a good idea, Alexander.

Overall, Cejudo expressed disagreement with Volkanovski’s decision, who felt it lacked an attempt to maximize self-esteem.

“Taking your time is the best thing you can do because right now you’re not giving yourself a fighter’s chance,” Cejudo said. “You fight just to see, ‘OK, I’ll fight and I’ll see if I can win.’ Not only will you lose, but you will also lose your pound-for-pound status, when you have that pound-for-pound status, even if it is voted by those pesky analysts who have never fought in their life, I will say that you are pound for pound right now. You will lose that. You have to keep that in mind.

“Make the right decisions. Don’t just jump over there for attention. Maybe if I were you, I’d just come out to watch like, ‘Hey, I’m next.’ Let Dariush (or) let Gamrot take the title if one of those guys doesn’t make weight. Looking at it, just seeing it that way, it just seems like you’re just seeing shit sticking to the wall. You don’t want to do that. Be smart in what you do.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s Event Center for UFC 280.

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