The Best Combat Athlete of All-Time?
Opinions just opinions….backed by a lot of facts.
Defining what it means to be the best can be quite difficult. Many athletes can make a strong case for being the GOAT. There are plenty of variables to consider when you start to make your list. Things like major titles, competition record, multiple weight classes, finish rate, and title defenses are all valid points to add to the conversation of who could be considered the best. Let’s consider this variable in this discussion: Who has done something that NO ONE ELSE has ever achieved?
Enter Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo may just be the best combat athlete in history. Cejudo has reached the pinnacle of two of the most demanding sports on the earth. This isn’t hyperbole. Wrestling is widely regarded as one of the toughest sports in the world.
Cejudo quickly became a hot prospect when winning the U.S. Nationals Freestyle competition while in HIGH SCHOOL. He then went on to be a multiple time Pan Am champion. 2008 was the year Henry reached the pinnacle of his sport. Henry became the youngest American wrestler to become an Olympic Champion. In 2013 he announced his intention to take his wrestling talents to the arena of Mixed Martial Arts.
When Cejudo made his UFC debut it was the he was the third Olympic Gold Medalis wrestler to fight in the UFC, but the first to do so since 1998. Cejudo outperformed both Mark Shultz and Kevin Jackson in terms of UFC accomplishment, and just about everyone else. With a high pace, endless cardio, Olympic Gold caliber wrestling, and ever evolving stand up skills Cejudo is only getting better.
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Cejudo has had his share of obstacles. After a successful 4 fight streak Cejudo faced the biggest challenge of his young MMA career in the legend Demetrious Johnson. Cejudo was stopped in the first round. Henry went on to drop a razor thin decision against division stalwart Joseph Benavidez. Champions aren’t defined by adversity, but how they responded to adversity.
The Olympic Gold Medalist responded by taking on the previous title challenger and BJJ standout Wilson Reis. This is where we start to see a major evolution in Henry’s game. Bouncing and bounding making use of the elastic fast twitch muscle fiber gained over a decade of wrestling at the highest level, Cejudo drops Reis and pounces on him for the tko finish. Whispers of a rematch with Mighty Mouse start to surface.
Sergio Pettis, younger brother of former champion Anthony Pettis, was the next to test Cejudo’s metal. Cejudo employed a great mixture of take downs, pressure, and his sharply honed stand up skills to move his way to a unanimous decision.
Current GOAT vs Future GOAT
The rematch is made. Demetrious Johnson just broke the most title defenses by any champion and is starting to be regarded as one of the best of All-Time. Cejudo and Mighty Mouse put on a fight of the night performance. One for the archives of great fights for sure. On top of that we see the start of the UFC’s next big star. Henry Cejudo. First Olympic Gold Medalist and UFC champion. Something no one else has done.
Battle with TJ Dillashaw
If beating the best flyweight of all time wasn’t enough Cejudo then set his sights up a division. After defeating Mighty Mouse, Cejudo took to the mic and challenged the 135lb champ TJ Dillashaw to a scrap. This bout recently took place on the UFC’s debut on espn+.
Cejduo required 32 seconds for his first 125lb title defense. He did this against a fighter who was ranked in the top 10 pound-for-pound rankings. Although the fight was expected to be highly competitive considering both fighters’ resumes, Cejudo went right to work and was able to secure the finish.
At this point nothing is clear. He could defend his belt against a very game Joe Benavidez and avenge his split decision loss. He could possibly chase another belt by going up to face TJ Dillashaw for his 135lb title. In which case he keeps adding to his legacy, and the way it looks is he has no intention of slowing down. Get Ready!
Here is a quick video with Bernardo and Henry showing Cejudo’s trophy room after winning the belt from Mighty Mouse. LOOK at all the hardware!
Takedowns are and integral part of any grappler's game. Whether you wrestle, do BJJ, or MMA Henry Cejudo has you covered.
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