Thursday, April 18, 2024

UFC news, rumors: Henry Cejudo parts with longtime coach, Tom Aspinall moves on from Jon Jones

Henry Cejudo is moving on. The former two-division champion handed longtime coach Eric Albarracin his walking papers on the “UFC Countdown” show for UFC 298. The surprising decision came to light the week of his fight against Merab Dvalishvili.

Cejudo and Albarracin’s long partnership came to an end ahead of Saturday’s pay-per-view in Anaheim. Cejudo informed Albarracin that his services were no longer needed while UFC cameras captured footage for their preview show. Their split, for this fight at least, marks the end of a working relationship dating back to Cejudo’s Olympic wrestling days.

“You were with me for my last Olympic trials, and you’ve been there for me, but as of right now, I just want to let you know that for this camp, dude, I’m getting rid of specific coaches — and that’s you included,” Cejudo said.

“Sometimes you get too close to somebody and people just get too comfortable… Right now, what I want to do in this fight camp is keep it strictly business.”

Cejudo captured UFC titles in two divisions under Albarracin’s guidance and nearly defeated Aljamain Sterling for the bantamweight title coming off a three-year retirement. The pair even opened their doors to UFC champions like Jon Jones, Jiri Prochazka and Deiveson Figueiredo during Cejudo’s layoff. The public nature of the split has some people questioning how legitimate it was. Dvalishvili jokingly hired Albarracin to give him insider information following the news.

More UFC news, rumors

Tom Aspinall is also letting go. Aspinall has repeatedly called out Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic and UFC for stalling his momentum in favor of eventually booking Jones vs. Miocic. The interim heavyweight champion is ready to move forward with or without Jones.

Aspinall won the interim heavyweight title at UFC 295 when he knocked out Sergei Pavlovich on short notice. An interim champion is usually rewarded with a title unification fight; however, UFC president Dana White has insisted that Aspinall’s title shot will not precede Jones vs. Miocic. Aspinall has argued with Jones and Miocic on social media but made little headway.

“I’ve shown nothing but respect for Jon Jones,” Aspinall told “The MMA Hour” on Monday. “I respect him more than a lot of people, put it that way, more than a lot of people. I respect what Jon Jones has done in the sport. It’s incredible. I appreciate the advice. I won’t let you hold me back. Like I said, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. This is my journey. This is my path. There are ups and downs to it. This is heavyweight MMA and anything can happen at any time.”

Aspinall maintains that UFC is making the wrong decision by insisting on booking Jones vs. Miocic with no timeline announced, but he’s tired of waiting around.

“I’ve openly said that I don’t think what’s going on with Jon Jones is right,” Aspinall said. “I don’t think that the UFC’s decision is right, but that’s just my opinion and I stated my opinion. I respect their opinion and their decision, and I respect everything that Jon Jones and the UFC has done and are doing.

“A lot of people online saying, ‘Hey, Tom. You need to stop crying,’ and I thought, ‘You know what? I f*cking need to stop crying about it. They’re right.’ I need to stop crying about it, move forward, and get on with my career, and prove that I’m the best. That’s exactly what I intend on doing.”

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