"Courage Only Comes When You Get Kids". Interview With Legendary UFC Fighter Cejudo

Marina Magomedova
16 Feb 2024

Olympic freestyle wrestling champion and former UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo may have the last fight of his career if he doesn't beat Merab Dvalishvili on February 18 at UFC 298 in Las Vegas.

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Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo

One of the most decorated fighters in the history of the UFC gave an exclusive interview to Telecomasia.net, talking about:

  • how his life has changed after he became a father;
  • how many rounds he is ready to fight Merab Dvalishvili;
  • which title is the most precious to him;
  • which male fighter can be beaten by Valentina Shevchenko;
  • the difference between the Russian and American schools of wrestling.

- You said that you may retire if you lose to Merab Dvalishvili. What can make you change your mind?

- A victory.

- Only a victory?

- Yes, only a victory. It's all or nothing. I have a long life ahead of me and I will have to get back to it.

Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo

- How did you find the motivation to come back after three years of retirement?

- How did I find the motivation? Look, it's just a challenge, what if.... Will I be able to do it again after three years? I think that's the main reason.

- Two years ago you became a father. What impact has this had on your motivation, responsibility and attitude towards work?

Henry Cejudo
Oh, my priorities have changed. They've changed completely. I don't do it for myself only anymore. I do it for my family, and the motivation I have is to think about other people, to worry about other people. It's a whole different thing. You know, courage only comes when you have children.

- Is being a father harder than working out hard every day?

- I would say it's probably easier not to have kids when you're training. I would say, yes. That's my answer.

Henry Cejudo and his family
Henry Cejudo and his family
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- Merab said that he would like to fight you for five rounds of five minutes each and that would be his advantage. What do you think?

- If I could have ten rounds with Merab, that would be even better. I would only be glad if they gave us a ten round fight. I wouldn't mind if we got five rounds like he wanted.

- If you reclaim the title after two wins, will you defend it?

- After that I would like to move up to 145 lbs.

- For the third title?

- Yes, why not?

- You're a triple champion. Which of these three titles is the most important for you?

- The Olympic title.

- Because it was the first or because it was the hardest to win?

- Just because it was the hardest to win.

Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo
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- Volkanovski said that your joke about firing your coach Eric Albarracin was dumb. How many people believed it?

- Everybody. Pranks are made to be believed. That's why we did it.

- Yeah, it was a good prank. You've challenged a lot of women to an intergender fight. On a more serious note, how would you rate the level of women's MMA? Could one of them beat a professional male fighter?

- I think Valentina Shevchenko could beat Sean O'Malley. That's what I think.

- Former UFC champion Petr Yan has lost three fights in a row. Perhaps this situation can be compared to your career, when you lost a qualifier for the 2012 Olympics. What did you feel at that time?

- I was satisfied and emotional. Because after that, my career was over. Something like that comes to my mind now. Satisfaction.

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- Daniel Cormier traveled to Dagestan with his students to see real Dagestani wrestling. Why was it so important for him and the kids?

- Because it's a completely different school.

Henry Cejudo
I think Dagestan brought a completely different culture, a different style of wrestling. These guys do nothing but eat, sleep and wrestle every day. It's a completely different approach. But that's also the reason why they're so good.

- However, the American wrestling school is also very successful. What are the main factors behind their success?

- First and foremost is the coaching school. American coaches understand how to teach athletes to enjoy the process. That's what makes athletes so good. So I think one of the main aspects of that is the fact that we have very good coaches.

Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo
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- You and Merab are both good fighters. Do you think that your fight will be a stand-up fight or will you wrestle?

- It will be all of the above. Stay tuned.

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