Regardless of personal feelings, Henry Cejudo respects the fighter that he'll meet at UFC 238.
Taking on Marlon Moraes in the event's headline bout, Cejudo will look to claim the vacant 135 pound title, becoming a two-weight champion in the process. In a media lunch this past Monday, Cejudo offered his own perspective on the highly ranked Bantamweight contender. “I respect him,” Cejudo said. "I really do. I respect Marlon, even though he doesn’t think very fondly of me. I respect him as a fighter.”
Cejudo earned this title shot in rather unique fashion, defending his Flyweight crown with an early knockout win over then Bantamweight titleholder TJ Dillashaw. That feat alone earned Cejudo an opportunity to return the favor, heading up a weight-class and looking to achieve what Dillashaw couldn't. However, Dillashaw's USADA violation then changed things slightly, allowing Marlon Moraes to secure his own shot at the now vacant belt.
Moraes enters the bout riding a four fight win streak, most recently scoring three straight first round finishes. That form tells it's own story and Cejudo refuses to ignore it but even still, enters with his own plans nonetheless. “I know he has the ability to knock me out,” Cejudo admitted. “I’m in that game, and I accept that. I accept there’s a 50 percent chance I may win. I may lose, especially against a competitor like that. But I’m going out there with the most intelligent mind.
"He’s never faced a competitor like me – not a fighter, a competitor. I will find a way to beat you. So you better put me to sleep or tap me out, but I will find a way to beat you.”
Cejudo's own wave of momentum shouldn't be ignored either of course, memorably dethroning Demetrious Johnson before his aforementioned Dillashaw triumph.
Either way, UFC 238 takes place at the United Center on June 8th. The event airs on ESPN+ PPV and also features Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Eye as well as Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone.