Henry Cejudo, born on February 9, 1987, is a retired American mixed martial artist and Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling. He is also a former UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion. Cejudo was born in Los Angeles, California, but grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He is of Mexican descent and was raised by a single mother.
Early Life and Wrestling Career
Cejudo began wrestling at a young age, following in the footsteps of his older brother Angel. He attended Maryvale High School in Phoenix, where he was a three-time Arizona state champion and a four-time finalist. He also won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the Pan American Games in 2007.
After high school, Cejudo trained at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 2008, at the age of 21, he became the youngest American wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling. He defeated Tomohiro Matsunaga of Japan in the final of the 55 kg weight class.
Mixed Martial Arts Career
After the Olympics, Cejudo turned his attention to mixed martial arts (MMA). He made his professional debut in March 2013 and quickly earned a reputation as a skilled wrestler and striker. In 2014, he signed with the UFC, the premier MMA organization in the world.
Cejudo made his UFC debut in December 2014, defeating Dustin Kimura by unanimous decision. Over the next few years, he established himself as one of the top contenders in the flyweight division. In August 2018, he defeated Demetrious Johnson, widely considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, to become the UFC flyweight champion.
After defending his title once, Cejudo moved up to the bantamweight division. In June 2019, he defeated Marlon Moraes to become the UFC bantamweight champion. He defended his title once before announcing his retirement from MMA in May 2020.
Cejudo is married to Maria, and the couple has one son. He is a devout Christian and often speaks about the role of faith in his life. He is also involved in various philanthropic endeavors, including supporting children’s charities and organizations that provide assistance to underprivileged communities.
Henry Cejudo’s legacy is one of excellence in both wrestling and MMA. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest combat sports athletes of all time, and his Olympic gold medal and two UFC titles are a testament to his skill and dedication. Despite retiring at the age of 33, Cejudo’s impact on the sport of MMA will be felt for years to come.
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