Henry Cejudo came up short in his attempt to win back the bantamweight title against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288 this past weekend, but despite initially wavering on whether he might now head back into retirement, he’s instead opted to call out leading contender Merab Dvalishvili instead.
“This s—t is far from over,” Cejudo wrote on Twitter. “Dana White, I want [Dvalishvili’s] head on a plate.”
And Dvalishvili has since responded to confirm he’s on-board with the idea.
“Let’s go! I will take another of Sterling‘s leftovers .. for now!” Dvalishvili replied.
Cejudo’s call-out was a quick change in mood compared to immediately after his split-decision loss to Sterling, when he took off his gloves in the Octagon and told Joe Rogan that his might have been his last fight.
“I think we go back and think about it,” Cejudo had stated. “Like I said, if I’m not first, I’m last. I gotta talk to Dana, I gotta talk to my wife. And who knows, this might be the last time you see me in the octagon.”
Cejudo had stuck to that line of thinking at the post-fight press conference too for the most part, but he had shown some interest when informed by a reporter that flyweight champion Brandon Moreno had offered to step up and fight him at 135lbs.
“I guess now everybody wants a piece of me, huh?” Cejudo said. “I guess we’ll talk about it. Money talks. If the UFC wants to put it together and there’s a nice little budget in for both of – I ain’t doing it in Mexico, though. Hell no. We can do it here in America.”
However, the fact that he’s since called out Dvalishvili suggests that’s his preferred option, and no one could accuse him of trying to take an easy pay-day as Dvalishvili is as daunting a challenge as any in the bantamweight division, boasting a nine-fight winning streak in the UFC that includes wins Petr Yan, Jose Aldo and Marlon Moraes in his last three Octagon outings.
Given the close nature of his fight with Sterling, a victory over the champion’s friend and teammate would likely wrench the door open for a title rematch, but it remains to be seen if Dana White will be on-board with Cejudo’s idea.