Henry Cejudo explains why he retired and why he’s coming back

March 24, 2023

Former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo is arguably the most accomplished athlete in combat sports history.

Before winning the UFC flyweight and bantamweight championships, Cejudo became the youngest America Olympic Gold Medalist in wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics at age 21. He’s the only person to win an Olympic gold medal and a UFC championship.

When he announced his retirement from fighting after his UFC 249 win over former two-time bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz, Cejudo had no intentions of returning. It’s been three years and Cejudo is expected to face bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288 in May in his return. In a video posted to his YouTube channel Cejudo explained why he retired and why he’s returning to the octagon.

“When you’ve accomplished everything, you’ve reached everything there is to do in sports, you know what you want to do? You want to relax and enjoy it. You’re bored. You’re like, what’s next? Why do I have to deal with this pressure of fighting, or why do I have to take an elbow, knee, and all of that,” Cejudo said.

“Guys, it’s plain and simple. People, at times, they need that time to rekindle the love of competition. To me, it wasn’t necessarily the sport, but just having the drive, having that chip,” continued Cejudo. “This is why I’m able to relate to a guy like Jon Jones quite a bit is because once you start winning it starts getting boring, or maybe that’s not the right word. It doesn’t get exciting anymore.”

What gets Cejudo excited is doing something that’s never been done, and that’s what he plans to do. That’s why he’s returning.

“It’s more of me rekindling my love for the game, for the love of the competition, and then doing it,” he said. “I’m not just done with Aljamain. My overall goal, and I’ll say it again, is to go up to 145 pounds and do something that nobody has ever done.”