Henry Cejudo, a two-weight champion in the UFC and a former Olympic gold medalist wrestler, is apparently going out on top.
Cejudo (16-2) defended his 135-pound title for the first time on Saturday night, as he finished Cruz (22-3) via TKO at 4:58 of the second round at UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The 33-year-old shocked the mixed martial arts world moments later, when he announced he does not intend to fight again.
“I’m happy with my career,” Cejudo said. “I’ve done enough in the sport. I want to walk away and enjoy myself. I’m 33 years old. I have a girl now, watching me from back home. Since I was 11, I’ve sacrificed my life to get to where I was tonight. I’m retiring tonight. Uncle Dana [UFC president, Dana White], thank you. Everybody here, thank you so much.”
Before leaving the cage, Cejudo declared himself the best combat sports athlete of all time. His only two losses in MMA came against Demetrious Johnson, the longest reigning flyweight champion in UFC history, and Joseph Benavidez. Cejudo avenged his loss to Johnson two years after he fell to him.
This was Cruz’s first fight in 1,226 days, the second-longest layoff before a title fight for a challenger in UFC history, behind only Georges St-Pierre (1,449 days).