Henry Cejudo Eyeing UFC Return, Will Re-Enter USADA Drug-Testing Pool

Doric SamApril 11, 2022

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 30: UFC legend Henry Cejudo gets introduced on UFC night during a wrestling match between the Oregon State Beavers and the Arizona State Sun Devils on January 30, 2022, at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, AZ. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former UFC two-division champion Henry Cejudo appears to be gearing up for a return to the octagon.

Cejudo's manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN's Marc Raimondi that Cejudo plans to re-enter himself into the USADA drug-testing pool on Monday, signifying the end of his two-year retirement.

Raimondi noted that the UFC's anti-doping policy typically subjects fighters to six months of drug testing before allowing them to return to competition.

The former flyweight and bantamweight champion, Cejudo was likely inspired by Saturday's title fights at UFC 273. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski defended his title against Chan Sung Jung while Aljamain Sterling defeated Petr Yan to unify the bantamweight belt.

After the fights had ended, Cejudo tweeted, "I'm getting back in the pool!!" Sterling was asked about the possibility of fighting him and said he would welcome the opportunity. On Sunday, Cejudo targeted Volkanovski on social media and expressed his desire to chase a third belt:

Henry Cejudo @HenryCejudo

<a href="https://twitter.com/alexvolkanovski?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@alexvolkanovski</a> you’ve inspired me to come back. When it comes to wrestling…you couldn’t pin a tweet. I would take you down and choke you out quicker than a McGregor relapse. Sign the contract. <a href="https://t.co/3gX1oI1bNO">https://t.co/3gX1oI1bNO</a>

"Henry will focus on his fight and training," Abdelaziz said. "He never stopped training. I truly believe Henry can come back to win the 135 [bantamweight] title and go up to 145 [featherweight] and win that. He will be the only fighter in UFC history to win three world titles."

Cejudo announced his retirement at UFC 249 on May 9, 2020, after defeating Dominick Cruz to retain the bantamweight title. The decision to step away from the sport surprised many, especially considering that the 35-year-old was in the best stretch of his MMA career. He had won six straight fights and was rising up the pound-for-pound list.

Since his retirement, Cejudo has focused on coaching at his gym in Scottsdale, Arizona. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling has assembled a star-studded roster of current and former champions, including Deiveson Figueiredo, Jon Jones, Cris Cyborg, Zhang Weili and more.