SCHAUMBURG, IL JANUARY 14, 2022
As we now know, Max Holloway unfortunately got injured and is out of his trilogy fight with Alexander Volkanovski. The original fight was headlining UFC 272 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Since then, it has been announced that the UFC is moving forward with Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal in the ultimate Grudge Match. It is now being reported that the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jang, is going to be getting his chance with Volkanovski at UFC 273 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, NY. This is going to be a fun fight as Korean Zombie is 17-6 in his career and will be getting his first title shot. He is 3-1 in his last four fights with the lone loss coming to Brian Ortega, the most previous competitor to challenge for the belt. The fact that this is the second choice for the featherweight championship, it has come with plenty of backlash. The topic is likely going to be in question until the fight occurs whether he is the most deserving so let’s take a look at the other possible competition.
To say that Henry Cejudo is upset is likely an understatement. Cejudo wanted a fight that would intrigue him to get back into the USADA process and while not confirmed, this fight seemed to get him into that pool. Cejudo is a former champion who retired at the top of both the flyweight and bantamweight divisions. He has spoken about rematches/reschedulings with competitors like TJ Dillashaw or Jose Aldo, he has also teased matchups with current champion and interim champion, Aljamain Sterling and Piotr Yan. the King of Cringe is all about the titles and achievements so to no surprise, Cejudo would love to be the first UFC fighter to become champion of three different divisions. The case against Cejudo is we haven’t seem him in over 18 months since he fought Dominick Cruz and while he looks to be in good shape, we aren’t sure if he is fight ready.
Brian Ortega would be the next competitor who should be upset that he wasn’t given a rematch for the title. After fighting an instant classic a UFC 266 where he was so close to victory and seeing him and Volkanovski as the previous season’s coaches of The Ultimate Fighter, the story is there. He is still ranked at #2 contender in the division behind Max Hollowoy. He seems to not be taking it with too many emotions that we can at least see from his online presence so if he is okay with the decision then we are okay. He may be seeing that he needs to improve his striking which we are seeing many more training videos on his social media accounts which may come in handy in an eventual rematch with Volk. While it is unfortunate, less than a year to improve as much as he needs to in order to give a better competition is something that I wouldn’t have seen favorable for T-City.
The other alternate option would certainly have to be Max Holloway’s most recent opponent, Yair Rodriguez. While Yair is coming off a loss, the fight with Max was a top contenders match up that a week after the highly anticipated matchup between Justin Gaetje and Michael Chandler provided plenty of fireworks. Yair and Max made it such a great fight that fans right there began to say that it has passed the fight between Gaethje and Chandler for fight of the year. Yair is highly entertaining and should have been highly considered as a replacement for Max when we found out about the injury. The main issue that surrounds Yair is his inactivity only having the one loss in his only fight over the past two years. Yair is also only 29 years old so with the youthful age, the UFC can also wait for Yair to continue grooming his skills in order to become a future champion in the featherweight division. I tend to believe we will see Yair soon enough in the title shot, he just needs to be more active.
While I wish we were seeing Henry Cejudo try to become champion of a third division, I understand the pick with Korean Zombie and truthfully believe it will be a fun fight in Brooklyn. It is also being scheduled alongside the bantamweight championship between Aljamain Sterling and Piotr Yan.