5 Things You Might Not Know About Henry Cejudo

By Guy Portman Jan 10, 2019
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Henry Cejudo (13-2) is the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight champion. The 31 year-old claimed the title in his last bout, as he beat Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227. In vanquishing the pound-for-pound great, Cejudo avenged his prior 2016 defeat to Johnson at UFC 197. In his first defense of his belt, Cejudo will face current UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. The superfight will appropriately be the UFC Fight Night 143 headliner, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Jan. 19.

As we approach the title fight, here are five things that you might not know about the man they call “The Messenger.”

He is an Olympic gold medallist.

In 2008, the then 21-year-old Cejudo became the youngest gold medallist in United States wrestling history. He achieved this distinction in the freestyle 55-kilogram class. His other accolades in the sport include three first place finishes at the Pan American Championships.

He used to be a bantamweight.

“The Messenger” entered mixed martial arts in 2013. Despite having competed at 121 pounds during his successful wrestling career, Cejudo initially decided to fight at bantamweight. After bypassing the amateurs, he commenced his professional career with six wins on the trot at bantamweight, before being signed by the UFC in 2014. Following a failed weight cut for his proposed flyweight debut against Scott Jorgensen at UFC, Cejudo was accused of not taking his mixed martial arts career seriously. The promotion’s top brass reacted by forcing Cejudo to move up to bantamweight for what transpired to be a triumphant yet delayed debut versus Dustin Kimura at UFC on Fox 13. Following the victory, Cejudo moved down to flyweight where he has not missed weight since.

He loves boxing.

Cejudo has been a boxing fan from a young age. He took to training in the sport in earnest after taking a sabbatical from wrestling following the 2008 Olympics. His primary accomplishment in boxing was becoming the Arizona Bronze Gloves Champion. While his base remains wrestling, Cejudo has supplemented his fighting style with strong, boxing-focused striking skills. As a result, five (38 percent) of his MMA wins have come via KO/TKO.

He is of Mexican descent.

Both of Cejudo’s parents were undocumented immigrants to the United States from Mexico. As his father was largely absent, Cejudo’s mother raised him and her seven other children on her own. Today, he’s a proud American. Wrestling fans will remember Cejudo wrapping himself in an American flag in the immediate aftermath of his stunning 2008 Olympic triumph.

He had an impoverished childhood.

Cejudo was born in Los Angeles in 1987. He was a young child when his mother left his father and took Cejudo Jr. and his siblings first to New Mexico, and then later to Phoenix, where the future Olympian and his family resided in a trailer. While in high school, Cejudo’s wrestling coach used to go door to door in order to raise money for his impoverished students to enter tournaments. Prior to moving to a dorm at the United States Olympic Committee’s Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Cejudo had never had a bed all to himself. “The Messenger” has no regrets about his formative years and is adamant that they provided him with a strong work ethic. When questioned in an interview about his challenging childhood, he stated, “I’m not into that whole victimhood thing.” Advertisement

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