Former undisputed UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo insists he will not hang up his gloves despite much speculation earlier this month, having failed in his pursuit to recapture 135lbs gold in a championship outing against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288.

Headlining the promotion’s return to Newark, New Jersey for the flagship event, Los Angeles-born challenger, Cejudo snapped a three-year plus hiatus from the sport, having retired from active mixed martial arts competition back in May 2020 following a successful title defense against Dominick Cruz.

And despite turning in a valiant effort against Sterling in their back-and-forth title affair at UFC 288 earlier this month in ‘The Garden State’, Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling to boot, suffered a split decision (48-47, 47-48, 47-48) defeat to Uniondale native, Sterling.

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Henry Cejudo sets sights on UFC 292 return against Merab Dvalishvili

Initially weighing up his future in the sport, Cejudo, who then quickly suggested a UFC 292 return in August against the number one ranked, Merab Dvalishvili in the promotion’s return to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts – has now set the story straight on his fighting future, slamming the door on a retirement.

“It’s not over,” Henry Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “I can’t let this go like this. I just can’t. There’s like a fire burning through my veins, a little bit of anger as you want to say. Want, will, desire, determination. And it has nothing to do with Aljamain (Sterling) or anybody else, but it’s myself. How far and how fast can I push this body? So, the challenge changes. You’re gouging from trying to accomplish something that nobody’s ever done to going back and really analyzing the timeline of when you really retired and what I have to do now to get what I want. This isn’t about Aljamain. This is about me. This is about my dream.”

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“I want Merab’s (Dvalishvili) head on a plate,” Henry Cejudo explained. “He’s the number one contender. I love the style. Stylistically, he’s gonna fight me the same way that Aljo tried to fight. I love the matchup. I love the fact that he’s the number one contender. I love the storyline, the fact him and Aljo are best friends. It’s personal now. It puts me in position to fight for the belt again. And I think that’s what I’m after now.” 

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.