Retired Cejudo eyes fight with boxing star Garcia
Henry Cejudo has no problem staying retired. But if he were to return to competition, a fight with up-and-coming boxer Ryan Garcia would be at the top of his wish list.
The former UFC double champion told ESPN's Now or Never on Tuesday that if any bout would get him to come back, it would be one against Garcia, the 21-year-old boxing prodigy who is promoted by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.
Cejudo and Garcia have been going back-and-forth on social media for weeks. Cejudo said he would be willing to face Garcia in a boxing match, but he proposed a hybrid fight with 10-ounce boxing gloves that have the fingers exposed for grappling.
Previously, Cejudo, a former Olympic wrestling gold medalist, said he'd most like to return against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. But the ex-UFC flyweight and bantamweight champ has changed his tune a bit.
"I think Ryan Garcia would be the easiest payday 'Triple C' would ever get," Cejudo said. "It would be a lot bigger than any purse I did in the UFC. If there's any fight that intrigues me between staying retired, between fighting ... Alexander Volkanovski or fighting ... Ryan Garcia, I like the payday. Plus, it's easy money because he's fought nobody."
Cejudo added that he thinks Garcia is "another Sean O'Malley," referring to the highly touted UFC bantamweight prospect, when it comes to unfounded hype.
"It makes me sick," Cejudo said.
Cejudo expressed interest in fighting Volkanovski even before Cejudo's stunning retirement following a successful bantamweight title defense over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 on May 9. Now, Cejudo said he won't "chase" the featherweight champ, who defends his belt Saturday against former titleholder Max Holloway at UFC 251.
Garcia told ESPN's Ariel Helwani last week that he'd be interested in fighting Cejudo in both boxing and MMA.
"Let's do it over here [in boxing] first, get you some money, get you knocked out, and then I'll go to MMA," Garcia said. "If you don't knock me out in MMA, you're a bum. I promise you: If you don't submit me or do whatever you have to do, you're trash."
Cejudo said Garcia "wouldn't make it 30 seconds" with him in mixed martial arts. A bout between the two seems like a long shot. Cejudo still has a UFC contract, and the promotion would have to OK any other fight deal or be part of the co-promotion.
Cejudo (16-2) stepped away from MMA unexpectedly after six straight wins. Cejudo, 33, has an impressive résumé, including being one of four fighters to hold two UFC titles at the same time. The Arizona resident has beaten the likes of Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw and Cruz, all former champions.
"Triple C" is apparently now looking to add Garcia to that list.
"Ryan Garcia, if you are watching this ... answer the call, man, and sign the damn contract," Cejudo said.
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