Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo has been teasing a comeback to UFC for quite some time. He retired from MMA after he defeated Dominick Cruz by TKO to retain the bantamweight title at UFC 249 on May. 9, 2020. After the fight, he retired at age 33 and vacated the belt. He shared his decision to end his career because he felt he accomplished what he wanted and desired to start a family.
However, seven months later, Cejudo posted on Twitter that he contemplated fighting again on Dec. 3, 2020.
Since he had second thoughts about retiring, Cejudo has teased fighting for either the UFC Bantamweight or Featherweight Championship. The Olympic Gold medalist wanted to fight Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title in early 2022, and unfortunately for him, UFC wouldn’t make the fight. However, since late 2022, Cejudo has focused more on bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.
Sterling and Cejudo have called each other out on social media and confronted each other in person over several months. On Feb. 20, Sterling shared on his Youtube Channel that he would defend his title against Cejudo at UFC 288 on May 6.
Since the fight was announced, Cejudo has shown himself training hard for his upcoming fight, but Sterling believes his opponent may not be the same as he was in 2020.
Aljamain Sterling Questions Henry Cejudo Conditioning For Their Upcoming Fight
Cejudo has been keeping his supporters up to date with his preparation for his comeback fight. He looks to be in great shape, which Sterling has acknowledged. However, in an interview with Megan Olivi, he questioned if Cejudo would be the same fighter from the past.
“…I know he’s talented. I know he’s tough. I know what I’m getting myself into, but he hasn’t gone through the gauntlet like I have. He can say he beat the guy that knocked me out. I mean, at this point, no disrespect to Marlon, but who hasn’t at this point, you know what I mean? I think you showed what a lot of us thought what would happen if you get out of the first round what could possibly happen with him and Henry did a good job of staying mentally tough, and that lets me know that he’s going to be there to fight the entire time,” said Sterling.
He continued, “…When I look at these things, I try to be honest with the assessment, and he’s a 25er coming up to 135er, and I have to keep that into consideration. Like yeah, he’s been on the couch for three years. Has he been training the whole time or just making these funny Youtube videos? So that gives me a lot of confidence. I know he’s putting in a lot of serious work, but I don’t know if he’s going to be the Henry Cejudo of three years ago. The same speed. The same strength. He might be a little bit slower, his reaction time might be a little bit slower, and this isn’t a freestyle wrestling match. This is a fistfight with top and bottom control where I get a wrist, I take him down, and I put the hooks in; that fight is as good as over.”
Sterling seems confident he will retain his title against the “Triple C.” However, if Cejudo is well prepared for UFC 288, the champion may have a difficult night.