Bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo put his title on the line in the UFC 249 co-main event on Saturday against former two-time champion Dominick Cruz. Cruz was the first UFC bantamweight champion but has been sidelined since December 2016 due to injuries.
Cejudo considers himself the greatest combat athlete of all time and has an Olympic gold medal and two UFC divisional championships as his proof. On Saturday, Cejudo defended his bantamweight title by stopping Cruz in the second round. After the fight, Cejudo unexpectedly announced his retirement.
Cejudo took the center of the cage at the sound of the opening bell while Cruz bounced around on the outside. To slow Cruz’ movement, Cejudo targeted Cruz’ legs with kicks. Cejudo moved foward and took Cruz down in the opening frame but couldn’t keep him grounded. Both fighters landed shots but the story of the first round was Cejudo’s leg kicks.
In the second frame, Cruz came out more aggressively and put together combinations. Every punch thrown by bot men were meant to end the fight. Cejudo continued to target Cruz’ legs. Midway through the round, the two had a collision of heads that opened up a cut on the hairline of Cejudo. After a doctor checked the cut, the fight resumed and Cejudo went on the offense. Cejudo landed a perfectly timed knee that sent Cruz cashing to the canvas. He followed Cruz to the ground and delivered 11 unanswered punches before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Cruz felt like the fight was stopped prematurely.
“I’m ruthless. I’m ruthless. I may be cringey, corny, but boy can I fight,” said Cejudo after the win. “I am the greatest combat athlete of all time. Nobody has my resume. I just defended by flyweight title. I just defended my bantamweight title, and I’m Olympic champ. Did I forget to mention that?”
During his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan inside the Octagon, Cejudo announced his retirement from fighting in front of an empty VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
“I want to make an announcement. Uncle Dana, UFC, everybody, thank you so much,” said Cejudo. “I’m happy with my career. I’ve done enough in the sport. I want to walk away. I want to enjoy myself. I’m 33-years old. I have a girl now. Amanda is watching back home. She wants to start a family. Since I was 11-years old I’ve sacrificed my whole life to get to where I”m at today. I’m not going to let nobody take that from me, so I’m retiring tonight.”