Henry Cejudo stops ex-champ Dominick Cruz, announces retirement at age 33

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MAY 09: Henry Cejudo celebrates after his knockout victory over Dominick Cruz in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 249 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Henry Cejudo dropped two stunners in a matter of moments on Saturday.

The UFC’s bantamweight champion stopped Dominick Cruz, becoming the first fighter to stop the legendary former champion, to retain his title at 4:58 of the second round. The victory came with a bit of controversy as Cruz was attempting to get up when referee Keith Peterson stopped it after about seven or eight ground strikes from Cejudo landed.

Then, Cejudo announced his retirement in the cage as his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan was ending.

“I’m happy with my career,” Cejudo said. “I’ve done enough in the sport. I want to walk away. … I am 33 years old. I have a girl now. I eventually want to start a family. Since I was 11 years old, I sacrificed my whole life to get where I’m at today. I’m not going to let anyone take that from me.

“I’m retiring tonight, Joe. I’m 33 years old. I’m happy with my career. Again, Uncle Dana [White], I want to say thank you. You’re the man. … Triple C’s out. You don’t have to hear my ass no more.”

Cejudo is one of only four UFC fighters to hold two titles simultaneously, having won the flyweight title by stopping Demetrious Johnson and then adding the bantamweight belt last year when he finished Marlon Moraes.

An Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling in 2008 in Beijing, Cejudo was 16-2 in his career and won six in a row after back-to-back losses to Johnson and Joseph Benavidez in 2016.

Cejudo was chopping on Cruz’s leg in the first round, but Cruz began to turn things around in the second with his footwork, setting up good strikes.

Cruz missed an uppercut and Cejudo capitalized. He crushed Cruz with a knee and Cruz went down. Cejudo landed a series of left hands but as Cruz began to get up, the referee stopped it.

Cruz felt the fight should have been able to continue because he was getting to his feet when it ended.

When the fight ended, seconds later, Cejudo’s career did, as well.

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