Saturday, August 04, 2018

Henry Cejudo won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling, and eventually transitioned to mixed martial arts. He put together a perfect 10-0 record before securing a liver shot from inaugural UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in 2016. Cejudo next lost a Split Decision to Joseph Benavidez, after a point deduction for repeated low blows. Cejudo rebounded with wins last year over Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis, and he rematches 'Mighty' Johnson at UFC 227 on Saturday.

In an interview with Thomas Gerbasi for, Cejudo detailed his mindset before the first fight.

“I was only fighting in the UFC for a year when I was offered that fight,” said Cejudo. “And I was only fighting for three years. ... My mindset was not only am I gonna beat this guy, but I’m just gonna drag him through the mud. I’m gonna show people my skills, my strength, and my will. I’m gonna use it upon him.”

“I didn’t think Demetrious Johnson could do that to me. I really didn’t. And I got a rude awakening. [I thought of myself] You’re good, you’re an athlete, you’re a great wrestler, but you’ve still got a lot to learn. So I went back to the drawing board, got rid of a lot of people immediately in my camp and in my life, and now I’m here today – ready, focused and excited to stop the ‘Mouse.’”

“We’re not fighting a regular fighter. We’re not fighting a top ten guy, a top five guy. We’re fighting the pound-for-pound best fighter in history. ... It’s not just a victory for me; it’s a victory for my division, it’s a victory for my coaches, my training partners and my family. It’s a victory for my legacy. It’s a victory of redemption, which means more to me than a win, just to know that maybe I got knocked out the first fight, but hey, I’m back.”

“This is Ronda Rousey-Holly Holm. This is going down like that. That’s the way I see it. ... It’s gonna be different because I know what to expect. I watched too much film, I’ve been in the ring with him, and I understand Demetrious Johnson more. ... We all bleed red. He’s human just like me. And the beautiful thing about mixed martial arts is that anything can happen.”