2008 Olympic wrestling gold medalist and current flyweight champion Henry Cejudo isn’t about to sacrifice his morality for the fight game.
“The Messenger” defeated T.J. Dillashaw in January to retain his flyweight strap. Since then, Dillashaw has tested positive for EPO twice, been suspended by USADA for two years, and relinquished his 135-pound title.
It’s been a stunning fall from grace for Dillashaw, who was beginning to creep into the conversation for pound-for-pound best. The performance-enhancing connection is going to be hard for Dillashaw to escape moving forward.
Due to that, Cejudo recently said if and when Dillashaw does return, he wouldn’t fight him again. It has nothing to do with money for “The Messenger,” it’s all about character.
“I’ll never fight him again, dude,” Cejudo said backstage at UFC 236 (via MMAJunkie). “And I’m not, it’s not like I’m scared or whatnot. I shook his hand, and, this is a sport. This isn’t baseball – you’re not hitting a baseball, there’s another human being, dude, so I want no part of him.”
“It doesn’t matter what they’re going to offer me, what they’re going to give me. In my eyes, T.J., there’s bad intentions, literally. There’s no desire for me to want the fight. I’ve always been drug-free.”
Cejudo, like everyone else, has heard the rumors about Dillashaw and doping. However, he gave the former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) runner-up the benefit of the doubt.
“I’ve heard on T.J., and I really never brought it up, he was on supposedly in the days prior to USADA, even Cody (Garbrandt), himself, was like, ‘Hey, watch out dude, he’s dirty,’” Cejudo said. “People would come up to me, and I never really brought it up because I thought that that part of MMA is over, but I think once you find out he’s on it, it’s like, this dude ain’t playing fair.”
“It’s a little dirty man. It’s not good for our sport. He could have hurt me.”
Cejudo will now his attention to Marlon Moraes and the bantamweight title. The two fighters verbally got into it at the UFC’s Seasonal Press Conference on Friday.
“Marlon Moraes, man, he’s a dead man walking,” Cejudo said. “That’s all I can tell you guys. He is a dead man walking, Every day, I cannot allow the UFC to have someone who looks like Mr. Clean and talks like Michael Jackson. I can’t have a schmo. I cannot have it.”
“It’s animosity, dude. He’s trying to take my dream. He’s trying to take my legacy from me. I’m not going to allow that.”