Henry Cejudo joins the growing lists of UFC competitors who are looking to add a title belt to their mantle that includes an Olympic medal. Scott Jorgensen will welcome Cejudo into the Octagon at UFC 177 and attempt to be the first man to add a blemish to the 27-year-old's career. MMA fans should be interested in the debuting combatant who has the opportunity to add some excitement to the still-growing flyweight division.
In 2008 Henry Cejudo earned himself an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling to become the youngest American to ever earn the honor. He would attempt to continue his career in the world's games but fell short in the 2012 Olympic Trials. After his final defeat he would remove his shoes and toss them into the crowd to signify that he was walking away from wrestling. At that point, he transitioned into mixed martial arts, where he has continued his winning ways. After six professional bouts he has been welcomed into the UFC with open arms.
“It feels good to be part of the UFC family finally,” Cejudo said to Thomas Gerbasi of the UFC.
Cejudo brings an interesting background story into the UFC that is quite different to that of other standout wrestlers. Unlike other big-name wrestlers in the sport, Cejudo did not take the traditional route in wrestling through collegiate mats before making it to the Olympics and mixed martial arts. As a high school wrestler Cejudo won four state titles. Instead of going to college to compete as most wrestlers do, Cejudo elected to train with USA Wrestling in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This training would help him build the abilities needed to reach the Olympic levels that he would see in his career.
Since his MMA debut in 2013 he has won six bouts and stopped the first four competitors that he faced. He won his last two bouts in Legacy Fighting Championship which brought the attention of not only the UFC but the World Wrestling Entertainment organization as well. Cejudo recently revealed that he had met with the WWE to discuss plans to bring him into the largest wrestling promotion in the world.
“It was something that was actually in the works,” Cejudo told Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. “One of their talent scouts saw me, met me and wanted to bring me in for an audition or whatnot. They had reached out to me and wanted to get a feel of it.”
However, Cejudo would instead sign with the UFC to join other Olympic medalists such as Ronda Rousey, Sara McMann, Yoel Romero and Matt Lindland to compete in the Octagon. His move didn't shock many within the MMA world, but everyone did not express excitement over the development.
Former UFC competitor Damacio Page has released some harsh statements about Cejudo before his debut at UFC 177. Page was supposed to fight Cejudo at LFC 31 for the organization’s flyweight title but Cejudo pulled out of the bout for personal reasons as reported by Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog.com.
“His personal reason was that I was going to knock his [expletive] out,” Page told Critchfield in a follow-up interview with Sherdog. “Of course he's gonna dodge me. Because I'm gonna hurt his value if he does get to fight me, and I knock him out. Then he's not as marketable for the UFC.”
The stage is set at UFC 177 to welcome Henry Cejudo into the promotion's 125-pound division. A victory over Scott Jorgensen will be a great way to kick off his run under the Zuffa banner for the former Olympic champion. The gold medalist has potential to be a force within the division but has a true test waiting for him on August 30.