Henry Cejudo has teased his return to competition for quite some time. The former UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion often insisted he was serious about ending his retirement and fighting again but never took the necessary steps to ensure it would materialize...until now.
Cejudo recently announced his intention to re-enter the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) drug testing pool in a ploy to get a fight with Alexander Volkanovski, the current UFC featherweight champion. Following a six-month period of testing, ‘Triple C’ can compete again.
Although he was met with indifference by UFC president Dana White, Cejudo appears to be setting the wheels in motion for a return, and his most recent move could indicate that it will indeed happen soon. Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA — manager of Cejudo — shared a photo of his client alongside Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell and matchmaker Sean Shelby after an apparent meeting. No other details were provided, but it is clear that Cejudo expects to fight in the bantamweight division.
The first target for Cejudo? Aljamain Sterling, the reigning bantamweight champion who just unified titles against Petr Yan at UFC 273 earlier this month.
“I’m coming back for these tomato cans and I’m going to right the wrong! Aljolame you the number one contender b—h,” wrote Cejudo on Twitter.
Sterling has since responded to Cejudo, and ‘The Funk Master’ could not help but laugh at the ex-champion and his warning. The Serra-Longo Fight Team product has already offered to welcome him back to the Octagon, but predicted a very tough outing for Cejudo.
“I would love that,” said Sterling during his post-fight press conference at UFC 273 (video provided by MMA Fighting). “I think Henry is a tough competitor. He’s a gamer. When the tough gets going, same thing. He has that grit, he’ll bite down on his mouthpiece and he’ll throw some leather. I feel like that would be the toughest matchup for me because he’s actually a really good wrestler, so we would have to figure it out on the feet and I think my length would be a problem for him. I’d be able to spam those front kicks right up the middle all night.
“But if the Muppet wants to come back and Triple C wants to get demoted to Double C, then we can do that,” continued Sterling. “So Henry Cejudo, get back in that pool and we can talk.”
Cejudo retired following his second-round technical knockout win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 nearly two years ago. An immediate championship opportunity against Sterling may seem somewhat farfetched. Still, it could be warranted as the former Olympic gold medalist left the sport as a two-division champion on an extended win streak that included finishes of elite names such as T.J. Dillashaw, Marlon Moraes and the aforementioned Cruz.