UFC News: Latest on Ryan Garcia vs. Henry Cejudo, Daniel Cormier and More

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MAY 09: Henry Cejudo celebrates after his knockout victory over Dominick Cruz in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 249 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

For a man who claims to be retired, Henry Cejudo's name just can't seem to stay out of the news cycle.  

The former flyweight and bantamweight champion continues to see his name attached to some big-name fights, and he was the target of a call-out from boxer Ryan Garcia in May. 

The 21-year-old boxer and Cejudo have gone back-and-forth on social media, with the former MMA star calling Garcia an "Oscar De La Hoya wannabe" after he asked his followers if Cejudo could give him a good boxing match in May. 

More than a month later, Garcia hasn't forgotten the Twitter beef. Speaking to Ariel Helwani of ESPN, he said he would be open to a fight in either the Octagon or a boxing ring. 

ESPN MMA @espnmma

Boxer @KingRyanG is willing to step into the cage with @HenryCejudo, telling Triple C "if you don't knock me [out] in MMA, you're a bum" 👀 (via @arielhelwani) https://t.co/v6as85NZju

Garcia competes at 135 pounds in boxing which also happens to be one of the divisions that Cejudo sat atop of before announcing his retirement. He relinquished his belt after his win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in May. 

It is not surprising that Cejudo would try to pick a crossover fight with a well-known name in the boxing world. At 33 years old, he's already accomplished everything he can in wrestling as well as MMA. Finding his way into a big-money spectacle against a boxer would just be another check off the list and a good way to expand his overall net worth. 

The move is a peculiar one for Garcia, who is a legitimate rising star in boxing. He is the WBC Silver lightweight titleholder and has won each of his last two fights by first-round knockout. 

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In the post-Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. landscape, this isn't out of the ordinary for MMA fighters to call out boxers and vice versa. However, Cejudo's semi-retired state and Garcia's openness to potentially fighting him in MMA makes this a little more interesting. 

Cejudo wasn't the only fighter in the MMA world that Garcia had his sights set on. He also called out Bellator fighter and McGregor associate Dillon Danis.


Daniel Cormier Addresses Eye-Poke Controversy Ahead of Stipe Miocic Fight

Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic have a history of some epic heavyweight fights marred only by the alleged eye pokes by DC in both fights. 

Cormier finished Miocic in the first round of their original bout in July 2018. There are those who still contend it was an eye poke that precipitated the events that led to that finish, though.

In their second bout, it was Miocic who won but the eye pokes were again a story. 

For a man whose chief rival was Jon Jones, it's ironic that eye pokes were a controversial part of his other rivalry. While Cormier has avoided the topic in the past, he recently opened up about the allegations. 

DC told Damon Martin of MMA Fighting:

"I'm not purposely poking him in the eye. That first fight, I kind of poked him in the eye but the issue with that was sometimes when I spar and because I'm shorter, I have the 16-ounce gloves, I can kind of flick my hand towards guys and hit them when they're a little bit out of range. I think that’s what happened the first time."

Cormier contends it wasn't an actual eye poke in their second fight last year. He caught Miocic with the knuckle of his thumb that was part of his fist. 

Miocic suffered an injury to a retina after the second bout and had to have surgery to correct the problem. And while Cormier maintains any and all eye pokes were purely accidental, it's still a storyline to follow in the next fight.

Miocic and Cormier are the most accomplished fighters in the current era of the heavyweight division. The winner of the rubber match will have the bragging rights and rightful claim as the best heavyweight champion in the UFC's history. 

In a fight with those kind of stakes, you'd hope something like eye pokes don't play a role. Given the history between the two, though, it is something the official will need to watch extra carefully.


Rose Namajunas Ready for 'Spectacular Performance'

When Rose Namajunas is motivated and focused, there are few women in the game who are as skilled as her. Motivation and focus haven't always been reliable for her, though. 

The 28-year-old's abilities were never more on display than when she beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk by first-round TKO and unanimous decision in back-to-back fights.

However, by her own admission, Namajunas lost her passion for fighting shortly after winning the championship and didn't look like the same fighter when she lost her belt to Jessica Andrade by second-round knockout in May 2019. 

Since then Thug Rose apparently has regained her passion and has high hopes for her rematch against Andrade at UFC 251 on July 11. 

Namajunas told Ariel Helwani of ESPN (h/t Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie):

"Based on my training and based on just my mentality and where everything is kind of led up to this point, it's definitely the makings of a spectacular performance and hopefully the best performance yet. I mean, my skill and my abilities and even just the control over myself has been the best it's ever been this whole training camp. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to performing."

If Namajunas returns in the same form we saw when she dethroned Jedrzejczyk, the strawweight division gets really interesting. She is already the No. 2 contender, and Weili Zhang has already proved to be a worthy champion in the division. 

On a loaded card with three title fights, Namajunas' return and rematch with Andrade is still one of the most compelling bouts in the lineup. 

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