For a man that’s retired, Henry Cejudo sure doesn’t act like one. But unfortunately for Cejudo, Dana White still views him that way.
Last month, following his second-round TKO of Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 to retain his bantamweight title, Henry Cejudo announced his retirement from MMA. It was a shocking announcement as Cejudo had only just seemed to be hitting his prime in the sport, but almost immediately after the announcement, rumors began to circulate that Cejudo’s retirement was really about money, rumors Cejudo did little to dispel when he declared that UFC President Dana White “knows the number” to get him to return. It’s not just money though, that could pique Cejudo’s interest. In recent weeks, Cejudo has also made it known that a featherweight title shot against current champion Alexander Volkanovski could end his retirement, and Volkanoski seems amenable to the idea. One guy who isn’t though, is the one guy who matters: Dana White.
This past weekend, at UFC on ESPN 11, Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos put on a Fight of the Year candidate that saw Emmett win a unanimous decision. So exciting was the featherweight contest that during it, Cejudo took to Twitter to praise the two competitors, while also throwing in a tease about his own status in the division.
That bit of cleverness from Cejudo prompted the media to ask Dana White during the post-fight press conference about the possibility of Cejudo being offered a featherweight title shot to be lured back to the cage, but White was not having any of it.
“He’s retired,” Dana White said. “I just did another interview where people are asking me about other retired guys. These guys are retired. I’m not even thinking about any of those guys. They’re retired. There are so many kids right now that are here, that want to fight. Those are the people that I’m focused on.”
The other fighter White is referring to is Conor McGregor, who similarly announced his retirement from the sport, though McGregor has done that so many times before, it rings as especially hollow. Obviously not for Dana White though, who insists that he “doesn’t chase guys.”
And thus the UFC is moving on without Cejudo. At UFC 251 next month, Alexander Volkanovski will defend his featherweight title against Max Holloway and Petr Yan and Jose Aldo will fight for the vacant bantamweight title.