2023 seems to be the year of returns. Recently, we saw Jon Jones make his return at UFC 285, much to the delight of the entire fight world. Moreover, we still have more returns this year with Conor McGregor and before that, Henry Cejudo.
Previously, Cejudo announced that he would be coming out of retirement to fight Alexander Volkanovski. As such, after trying to make his case for a 145 lbs title shot for a long time, the UFC gave him a different route. Thus, Cejudo needs to first reclaim his 135 lbs title before being a candidate for the featherweight title.
As such, Cejudo will be taking on Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288. Whilst the preparations have been underway for a while now, Cejudo is likely making some final adjustments ahead of the fight in May. However, a cause for concern has been a huge gash and stitches on Cejudo’s face in a recent video.
Speaking about the bantamweight division and its future, ‘Triple C’ gave his thoughts on the matter. Rather than what Cejudo was speaking about, more was made of the facial injury and swelling on Henry’s face. Likely endured during sparring, it has brought up questions over Cejudo’s fitness, especially after a long layoff.
Will the long layoff hurt Henry Cejudo at UFC 288?
For the most part, any fighter making their return after a long layoff is a concern. Previously, there were a lot of questions about how would Jon Jones cope after a lengthy break in a new division. However, Jones shocked everyone and submitted Ciryl Gane within the very first round. Similarly, there are concerns over Cejudo, who is making his return to the Octagon after three long years.
Previously, Cejudo announced his retirement from the sport after beating Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. Having beaten some of the best names in his division and the sport, Cejudo felt as though he had achieved all that he needed to. Having been a double champ and one of the best combat sports athletes, Cejudo decided to call time on his career at 33 years of age.
However, it appears as though Cejudo has found his hunger again and training with fighters like Deiveson Figueiredo and Jon Jones has likely brought out his competitive itch. Thus, Cejudo feels like he can be the UFC’s first three-divisional title holder and has decided to embark on this new mission to claim gold in the featherweight division.
As per Cejudo, he intends to take the title off Sterling and defend it against Sean O’Malley before making his way up to 145 lbs and defeating Alexander Volkanovski. However, at 36, there are questions about his fitness, sharpness, and overall ability as a fighter. As such, only time will tell how good Cejudo still is after all this time out of action.