Henry Cejudo revealed why he left the sport of MMA in 2020 and what has suddenly drawn him back in after nearly three years on the sidelines.
On Saturday, May 6, ‘Triple C’ will return to the Octagon for the first time since defending the UFC bantamweight title against division staple Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. Cejudo will attempt to reclaim the 135-pound crown when he challenges reigning titleholder Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288.
In 2019, Henry Cejudo was riding high, capturing both the UFC flyweight and bantamweight championships before walking away unceremoniously immediately following his defense against Cruz. In a video clip shared on his YouTube channel, ‘Triple C’ revealed why he walked away from the sport shortly after climbing to the top of the mountain.
“When you’ve accomplished everything…You’ve reached everything there is in sports, you know what you want to do? You want to relax and enjoy it,” Cejudo revealed. “You’re bored. You’re just like, ‘What’s next? Why do I have to deal with this pressure of fighting? Why do I have to take an elbow, a knee, and all that?’ It’s plain and simple. People at times need that time to rekindle their love of competition.
“To me, it wasn’t necessarily the sport, it was just having that drive. Having that chip. 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. Maybe that’s not the right word. It doesn’t get exciting anymore. Of course, there’s a lot of matchups I could do, but to me, I’m a conqueror. To me, I always like to go up. I always like to do certain things to always be different.”
After walking away, vacating his bantamweight title in the process, Cejudo never intended to return to the world of MMA.
“My plan was to never really come back,” Cejudo admitted.
👀 @FunkMasterMMA and @HenryCejudo crossed paths at the @UFCPI pic.twitter.com/7Qjzr8qIkw
— UFC (@ufc) March 3, 2023
Why is Henry Cejudo Back?
Henry Cejudo will make his return to the Octagon after what has been months of speculation. He will immediately step into a UFC title opportunity given the success of his initial run with the promotion, but the real question is, why is ‘Triple C’ coming back in the first place? The former two-division titleholder shed some light on the reason for his big return, the man that inspired him to make a comeback, and his goals before hanging up the gloves once and for all.
“I’m a conqueror. [Michael Jordan] did it. If there’s anybody that could do it. I mean, dude won three championships, took a year off, and came back and won three straight. Stories like that are inspiring to me, but they’re also motivators because I know everybody individually is different. We all have different DNA. A different chemistry in the mind and I’m here to push it. 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.
“So what is it that’s allowed me to come back? It’s that spirit of competition that’s within me again. There’s another mountain that I want to conquer where nobody has ever stepped foot in.”
The 145-pound title is currently held by Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski. Following a failed attempt to dethrone lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 in February, Volkanovski will return to featherweight for a title unification bout with reigning UFC interim champion Yair Rodriguez. Once that bit of business is taken care of, ‘The Great’ could find himself defending the title once again against a determined Henry Cejudo.
That all depends on how Cejudo performs in his long-awaited return at UFC 288 in May.