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Henry Cejudo didn’t have his own bed until age 17: ‘I felt so lonely that night’

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Olympic gold medallist and former UFC “champ-champ,” Henry Cejudo, opens up about his mom raising seven children by herself.

Henry Cejudo is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and that championship mettle can be traced back to his mother, Nelly Rico.

Cejudo (16-2) — a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight and Flyweight champion — is the second-youngest of seven children welcomed by Jorge Cejudo and Rico, Mexican immigrants to the United States. Jorge’s violent behavior, substance abuse, arrest, deportation and eventual death left Rico shouldering the responsibility of raising seven kids.

Cejudo shared a bed with his family for half of his life. He was 17-years-old when he first slept alone in a bed during a residency program at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado.

“I felt so lonely that night. It was a trip, dude,” Cejudo reflected in an interview with MMAMania.com. “It was a trip because I was so used to having feet on my damn face. It was different. It was just different. I had a sink in there, I had a pillow. I never really got accustomed to pillows until now because we never had pillows. People don’t know that other side of the story with me. I was literally a humble kid growing up. One of seven kids raised by a single mother, an immigrant lady. Minimum wage. We’re on food stamps, government cheese and powdered milk — all of that stuff.

“I’ve always pictured myself to get here, to be quite frank and quite honest with you,” he continued. “I think the Henry Cejudo of today, if he were to see the kid that was 17-years-old with that bed, he’d say, ‘I knew, I always knew. I told you so.’”

There is one person on this planet who “Triple C” will bend the knee for, and that is his wife, Ana Karolina. The happy couple is expecting a baby next month. The retired mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter opened up about how he has grown the most as a partner.

“I’ll be honest with you, man, I was a player for a minute. Just a bird. Now, I’m just being a little bit tamer. I’m going to be a dad. I gotta do things right here,” he said. “I grew up without a father, as a kid, and seeing this whole new perspective on life, dude. My kid’s not even born yet, she’s due next month. We’re naming our baby, America. As an immigrant son, as the son of Mexican immigrants, I love my country. I’m just excited to take my career to the next height and to be the best father and husband that the world could ever ask for ... cringe aside.”

Cejudo retired MMA following a successful defense of UFC’s Bantamweight championship against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 on May 9, 2020. He is currently campaigning (read details here) for a comeback fight against reigning UFC Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.


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