So you watched Henry Cejudo’s post-fight interview with Joe Rogan after “Triple C” defeated Dominick Cruz to retain his bantamweight belt at UFC 249 and you think the Olympic gold medalist (wrestling), former UFC flyweight champion and the promotion’s current bantamweight champion is about to retire?
Not so fast.
Cejudo’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, isn’t buying it and expects to see Cejudo back in the octagon again, possibly as soon as this summer.
“Do I think Henry’s gonna retire? Absolutely not. I don’t think Henry’s gonna retire,” Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports. “Henry’s got everybody on their knees right now. I don’t think he’s gonna retire. You’re gonna see him fight by this summer. This is what I think.”
Abdelaziz argued that the 33-year-old Henry Cejudo is in his prime and that retiring right now would defy logic. He also hinted that Cejudo’s surprising and abrupt retirement could be more of a leverage tool to earn future big-payday fights than it is a real retreat from the sport.
“These guys, they’re in their prime. Henry’s gonna be coming now into his prime,” Abdelaziz said. “How you gonna retire in your prime, and the pay-per-view [UFC 249] did so well, and you’ve gotta make some money? Could things be changed a little bit? Yes, of course. But at the end of the day, this is between us. It’s between me and Henry and the UFC. I don’t think the media should know about this stuff, because people’s egos get big.”
If Cejudo really is walking away from MMA, he would leave the sport on a six-fight winning streak and as one of the greatest flyweights and bantamweights in UFC history. He is one of just four fighters ever to hold two UFC titles simultaneously, joining Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, and Amanda Nunes on that list.
Triple C has been competing as a wrestler and subsequently an MMA fighter since he was four years old. He certainly has enough tread on the tires and the accomplishments to call it a career whenever he pleases. But something about this retirement raises eyebrows. Cejudo seems to look better each and every fight these days and is coming off of a dominating TKO finish of an MMA legend.
With a sports world starving for entertainment fixated on UFC 249, Cejudo’s performance could have his brand as big as it’s ever been. He has victories in his career over Demetrious Johnson, T.J. Dillashaw, Marlon Moraes, and now Cruz. But there are plenty of talented fighters left in the bantamweight division for Cejudo to fight and paydays left for him to claim.
The question is: Does the UFC find him marketable enough to back the Brinks truck up for his future fights? Time will tell, but it stands to reason that the public’s demand to see Cejudo fight is as high as it has ever been after his brilliant performance in the Pay-Per-View that brought sports back to America.
Pat Donohue has been covering sports for more than 10 years. He is a former Washington Redskins beat reporter and has been covering the University of Maryland football and basketball recruiting and daily beats for Rivals.com since 2013. Pat graduated from Maryland with his master’s degree in journalism and has received bylines in publications such as USA TODAY Sports, The Philadelphia Inquirer, SB Nation, and Yahoo! Sports. As a wrestler for 13 years in Pennsylvania, Pat has a deep appreciation for MMA and a keen understanding of the sport.