Saturday night, Henry Cejudo defended his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz. He secured a second-round victory via technical knockout and then stunned the viewers of UFC 249. He announced that he would be walking away from professional fighting at the age of 33.
"I'm retiring tonight," Cejudo said following his victory. "I'm 33 years old, I'm happy with my career. Again, to Uncle Dana (White, UFC's president), I wanna say 'thank you for everything.' You're the man. Everybody here... Thank you so much, but Triple-C's out. You guys don't have to hear my a— no more." He flexed while wearing his championship belt and broke the news.
While Cejudo said that he was walking away from the sport and that he was happy, there were some doubters on Twitter. Several fans proclaimed that this was a "publicity stunt" and that he just wanted a bigger contract from White. Some even took a screenshot in order to examine the expression on White's face during the announcement.
Despite these comments on Twitter, White said during his post-fight press conference that he has been expecting Cejudo's announcement. He said that the fighter has been talking about retirement for a while. "I'm of the belief that if you're talking about retirement in the fight business, you should probably retire," White said.
Cejudo further explained his decision during his press conference. He is a title-holder in both the flyweight and bantamweight divisions and is believed to be in the prime of his career. However, Cejudo said that he wants to leave while he is the champion. He left wrestling after securing the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is doing the same in his MMA career.
"Since I was 11 years old, I probably have 600 competitions of wrestling matches in my life. That’s all I've ever done," Cejudo said. "I don't have kids. I've finally got a girl now, and I want to step into that new chapter of my life. I've been extremely selfish and rightfully so to obtain what I've obtained — can I say it again? Olympic champ, [UFC] flyweight champ, [UFC] bantamweight champ, and I defended both world titles. And man, I want to leave on top. I did it in wrestling and I want to do it now in the sport of mixed martial arts. I just don't see myself coming back and I want to remain king forever."
Cejudo will walk away from his MMA career with an overall record of 15-2 in the UFC. His only losses came at the hands of Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson, both of which took place in 2016. Cejudo later defeated Johnson, the longest-running flyweight champion in UFC history, to secure his first championship belt.