MONTEVIDEO (WP) - In this corner stands Henry Cejudo, who in June became the fourth fighter in UFC history to win championship belts in two weight classes at the same time.
In the opposite corner stands Valentina Shevchenko, who retained her UFC women's flyweight title via a unanimous-decision win over Liz Carmouche in Saturday's UFC Montevideo event and is considered one of the top female fighters in the world.
If the former gets his almost certainly nonserious wish, the two UFC champions will square off for the circuit's first "intergender" championship.
"My phone keeps blowing up, that somebody by the name of Valentina 'The Bullet' Shevchenko is the most dominant champ in the world," Cejudo said in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday, one day after Shevchenko's dismissal of Carmouche.
"And guess what: I get a little jellie because you know what, she has that gold and I want that gold. Valentina Shevchenko, I have a message for you: I'm looking to become the first intergender world champion this world has ever seen. I'm calling you out."
It wasn't Cejudo's first challenge toward female fighters. In July, he told TMZ he wanted to take on Shevchenko or two-class champion Amanda Nunes.
Asked Monday by ESPN's Ariel Helwani if she had seen Cejudo's most recent challenge, Shevchenko said "be careful what you wish (for)" and that she could arrange it for Cejudo "to lose all his gold forever." Even though Cejudo-Shevchenko has an infinitesimally small chance of ever actually happening, something called Best Fight Odds has established the male fighter as a -1100 favorite over Shevchenko, implying a 91.7% chance of victory.
UFC President Dana White seemed highly amused at all this.
"That's the wackiest s-- I've ever heard," he said Tuesday. "It's just f--- crazy. . . . But Valentina would probably do it.
"I don't even know how to respond to that or what to say, other than 'wow'. I can't even f--- wrap my brain around that, why he would say that. It's just crazy."
In any case, Cejudo won't be fighting anyone until 2020. He underwent surgery on his left shoulder in June and will need four to five months of recovery time before he can begin training again. In the meantime, he's keeping himself in the spotlight.