Jul 26, 2014, 9:02 AM EST
Henry Cejudo will be the third Olympic gold medalist to compete for UFC after signing a promotional contract announced Friday.
Cejudo became the youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion at 21 at Beijing 2008. The son of illegal immigrants from Mexico, his story gained instant fame, and was told in a book, “American Victory.”
He did not qualify for London at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and gave up wrestling to start a mixed martial arts career.
“In wrestling, you’re talking about a fraternity of champions, and I got a chance to be a part of that Olympic championship club,” he said, according to UFC.com. “And anyone that ever won the Olympics in wrestling, there’s something different about them. And that’s something that I’ve always wanted to carry over to mixed martial arts when it comes to discipline, when it comes to technique, and when it comes to becoming an overall fighter. Everything that I did to win a gold medal, I’m practically transferring it over to mixed martial arts.”
Cejudo’s first UFC bout will be in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 30 in the flyweight division, though he’s 6-0 with four knockouts already as a pro.
“I always wanted to become a student of the game and at least get six to eight fights before coming to the UFC,” he told UFC.com. “Now I think I’m in my prime, and I’ve never felt this strong in my life. I won the Olympics at 21. I could only grow half a mustache (laughs), and now I’ve got a full beard.”
Cejudo joins fellow wrestlers Kevin Jackson and Mark Schultz in competing in UFC after winning Olympic golds. Of course, one of the most famous names in MMA is 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey.
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It’s unlikely a U.S. man will qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:05 AM EST
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Nov 21, 2014, 3:10 PM EST
This year’s winners came from unprecedented nations and events.
Nov 21, 2014, 2:24 PM EST
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Nov 21, 2014, 8:59 AM EST
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Young Dmitry Melnichenko lost the match, then lost his cool.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:57 PM EST
Olympic ski slopestyle champion uses a chainsaw every day.
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Nov 19, 2014, 11:30 PM EST
Olympic champion could face the only woman who beat her in the quarterfinals.
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Nov 19, 2014, 1:40 PM EST
Her name could be “erased from the list of participants,” IOC president said.
Nov 19, 2014, 11:29 AM EST
Eight stadium events will have morning finals, a first for Olympic track and field since 1988.
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The IOC will vote on 40 proposed changes to the Olympics in December.
Nov 18, 2014, 4:01 PM EST
Also, Natalie Coughlin said she reached out to Phelps.
Nov 18, 2014, 3:52 PM EST
Four years ago, Michael Phelps’ coach said Lochte was the world’s best swimmer.
Nov 18, 2014, 9:23 AM EST
U.S. has never hosted the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Nov 17, 2014, 4:35 PM EST
Olympic silver medalist’s partner in London was April Ross, who is now with Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Nov 17, 2014, 4:18 PM EST
Both could make history at Rio Olympics.
Nov 17, 2014, 1:42 PM EST
Miller hopes to return one week before the one storied race he has never won.
Nov 17, 2014, 1:16 PM EST
Swede being inducted into Hall of Fame authored one of the iconic Olympic moments in 1994.
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