There are two things a star athlete will have to surrender when they retire from competition: money and attention.
That may explain why former UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo, who also held gold at 125 pounds, is making his return to combat sports after previously walking away from UFC in early 2020 as the result of a “stagnant process.”
So what changed?
“He’s broke,” bantamweight contender Marlon Vera said during the UFC San Antonio media day (watch it here). “What’s the point to come back when you retire on top? You come back because either you need attention and you miss that or you need money. He is a little guy, they need attention.”
Fellow contender Sean O’Malley claims Cejudo has just $37 in his bank account.
The promotion will give Cejudo the opportunity to reclaim the crown in a five-round main event against current 135-pound titleholder Aljamain Sterling when they go to war in the UFC 288 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on May 6 in Newark, NJ.
The winner could move on to face Vera (or perhaps Cory Sandhagen) later this year, depending on what happens in the upcoming UFC San Antonio headliner this Sat. night (March 25, 2023) at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.