Petr Yan didn’t have anything complimentary to say following Henry Cejudo’s surprise retirement announcement at UFC 249.
“This is not a champion-level fight,” Yan said after Cejudo defeated Dominick Cruz via second-round technical knockout in Saturday’s co-main event at VyStar Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
Yan, who owns a 14-1 professional mark and is 6-0 in UFC competition, has not been shy about voicing his displeasure in Cejudo’s choice in opponents since becoming bantamweight champion. The Olympic gold medalist was originally scheduled to face Jose Aldo at UFC 250 before the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of that bout, and Cejudo then moved on to Cruz, who was making his first Octagon appearance in nearly four years. Yan believes that the stoppage was premature, and referee Keith Peterson should have allowed Cruz more time to continue fighting.
“Cruz took a fight on short notice, so I doubted his condition. After all, this is a five-round fight,” Yan said. “I understood that Cejudo was a favorite. I am not impressed by the bout, and even less so impressed by the ‘clown.’ I think the referee could calmly wait a few seconds before [stopping the fight]. This is not a champion level fight. Cejudo has long had time to retire — today it was visible.”
Prior to the pandemic, Yan was scheduled to face Marlon Moraes in Kazakhstan on June 13. It is currently unclear if that bout will be rebooked at an upcoming event. If Cejudo’s retirement sticks, it sounds like Yan would be next in line for a shot at the vacant belt.
“It’s Petr Yan and somebody,” UFC president Dana White said Saturday. “We’ll get that figured out too. We’ll make a title fight next week for the vacant title and probably do that fight for the vacant title.”
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