- Cody Durden beat Aoriqileng in a UFC flyweight fight Saturday in Las Vegas.
- After the win, Durden said he had to send the Mongolian back to "where he came from."
- He doubled down on the comment in a post-fight conference but later apologized on Twitter.
American fighter Cody Durden won his UFC bout Saturday and then said he had to send his opponent Aoriqileng "back to China where he came from" during his post-match interview at the Apex in Las Vegas.
"I knew he was gonna be tough, but I had to send him back to China where he came from," Durden said, of his opponent, who is from the Inner Mongolia region of the country.
The comment drew backlash from prominent fighters in the UFC's roster, but Durden defended the language when speaking to reporters at a later press conference.
"If they don't like it, do something," Durden said. "Sign the contract, it doesn't matter to me. I said what I said and it is what it is.
"Emotions were high. It's the fight business. He's punching me in the face and I was punching him in the face. It's his family or mine, and tonight my family eats."
Durden claimed the comment was not racist and insisted it was "all good."
He said there was ill will toward Aoriqileng, a 28-year-old nicknamed "Mongolian Murderer," because he felt the Chinese athlete refused to shake his hand.
It is unclear if Aoriqileng did so on purpose, or if he did not see the gesture.
"I took it personal," said Durden. "He didn't want to shake my hand, that's fine. I didn't want to touch gloves and that's why he got kicked at the beginning of the fight.
"Business is business and we handled business like gentlemen in the cage."
After the media event, Durden's tone changed for a statement on social media.
"Listen, the guy was disrespectful, and wouldn't shake my hand at the weigh-in," Durden said on Twitter.
"After beating him, I simply meant he could go home wherever that may have been. I apologize if I offended anyone, that certainly was not my intention."
Durden, who called Aoriqileng a "communist" on Twitter two weeks before the fight, closed his comment by saying: "I love you all. See you at the top."
—Cody Durden (@Cody_Durden) November 20, 2021
Durden advanced his pro MMA record to 12 wins (five knockouts, five submissions, and two decisions) against three losses.
Since signing to the UFC in 2020, he has one win, one loss, and one draw. It is unclear when he will fight next.