JACKSONVILLE, FL — Henry Cejudo announced a surprise retirement after beating Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 on Saturday night, extending his reign as the only Olympic gold medalist to wear a UFC Championship belt.
“Since I was 11 years old, I probably have about 600 competitions of wrestling matches in my life,” Cejudo, 33, said in Jacksonville, Fla., early Sunday morning with a patch of blood on his hairline from a headbutt. “That’s all I’ve ever done. I don’t have kids. I finally got a girl now. But I want to step into that new chapter of my life. I’ve been extremely selfish, rightfully so, to obtain what I’ve obtained. … I want to leave on top. I did it in wrestling. I want to do it now in the sport of mixed martial arts. I just don’t see myself coming back. I want to remain king forever."
Cejudo finished his mixed martial arts career with a TKO of Cruz in the second round, defending his UFC Bantamweight Championship and moving to 16-2 since 2013. He did go back and forth in a post-fight press conference, teasing that money could lure him back, then saying he was satisfied financially.
In 2012, Cejudo, then 21, became the youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion in history, a record since broken by Kyle Snyder.
Unlike Snyder, it was truly a surprise title. Cejudo had finished 31st in his lone senior world championships appearance in 2007.