It appears that the Ultimate Fighting Championship is taking Henry Cejudo at his word.
The UFC bantamweight title is now vacant after Cejudo announced his retirement at UFC 249. Promotion officials initially confirmed the news to MMAFighting.com. Cejudo was removed from the 135-pound rankings on UFC.com over the weekend.
Cejudo defeated Dominick Cruz by second-round technical knockout in the UFC 249 co-main event at VyStar Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9. While many speculated that his post-fight retirement announcement was a negotiating ploy, the Olympic gold medalist claimed that his motives were sincere while also adding “I know my price.”
“I want to start that new chapter of my life .. I could never fight and try to raise a family,” Cejudo said at the UFC 249 post-fight press conference. “I know what it takes, and I know that I’m very selfish to myself.
“It’s not a plot. When I walked away from wrestling I completely walked away, never looked back. I almost feel the same way with mixed martial arts, and wrestling was my first love.”
Shortly thereafter, Cejudo’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, stated that the former two-division champion wouldn't stay retired and could fight again as soon as this summer.
“Henry’s got everybody on their knees right now,” Abdelaziz said. “I don’t think he’s gonna retire. You’re gonna see him fight by this summer. This is what I think.”
Cejudo later issued a statement via Twitter following his removal from the rankings that seemed to reaffirm his desire to retire:
Thank you for the awesome experiences uncle @danawhite I will forever be grateful. Thank you for taking a chance on the sport that people thought would never make it. To all my coaches and fans it been a wonderful ride. Triple C is out #retiredontop pic.twitter.com/ZoHa3asoDU— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) May 25, 2020
At the UFC 249 press conference, UFC president Dana White said Petr Yan would likely be involved in any future fight for the vacant 135-pound belt. According to MMAFighting, talks are already underway to book Yan against an unnamed opponent in a bout this summer.
Note: This article was updated to include a recent statement made by Cejudo on social media.