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Monday Morning Hangover: Henry Cejudo can retire (this time for real) with his head held high

UFC 288 went down this past weekend (Sat., May 6, 2023) inside Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., leaving plenty of fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Gilbert Burns, who was out-classed by Belal Muhammad in the co-main event of the evening (recap).

And Jessica Andrade, who was knocked out by Yan Xiaonan in the first round. But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Henry Cejudo.

Fight fans were interested to see how “Triple C” would do after three years away from the sport against an active champion who is much bigger than him. And while the Olympic gold medalist did have some good moments, he ultimately came up short in his bid to reclaim his throne, three years after voluntarily leaving it behind.

Cejudo, 36, teased retirement after the fight, and even UFC President, Dana White, chimed in on the matter, saying he wouldn’t be opposed to seeing his former “double-champ” hang it up for good. When Cejudo threw down his gloves three years ago, he unfortunately did it without much fanfare because most felt it was a ploy to get more money.

While there is no telling if he got a pay raise for his comeback fight, he should, at the very least, be thankful the promotion allowed him to fight for the title straight away. And though he came up short, he still put up a valiant effort, with many feeling he should have been crowned the winner.

If he does decide to call it a day in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, this will be the one that sticks. Because let’s face it, how many times can you retire and come back? He gave it his best shot at winning UFC gold again and came up short, and if he eyes another title fight, it likely won’t come without having to climb his way back up.

A much sought-after fight against Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, pretty much vanished after Cejudo’s loss, because why would the promotion allowed him to move up to challenge for that belt? That would have been a great fight to see, but we will never get the opportunity to do so.

A fight against current Flyweight champion, Brandon Moreno, has absolutely zero appeal to the masses, if we are being honest. While they may have some sort of beef after their friendship turned sour, it doesn’t have the heat or the sizzle that a similar story between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington had. Because it’s a safe bet to say that not a ton of people know of (or care) about Cejudo and Moreno’s strained relationship.

Cejudo has nothing left to prove, and working his way up to a title shot at this point in his career seems pointless. For as full of cringe as he is, Cejudo’s resume is in the record books as one of the best combat sports figures in the game.

He’s accomplished more than a majority of MMA fighters will ever get close to, so walking away at this point in time seems like the right move to make. No regrets, no pity, no sadness and for darn sure no “what ifs.” Cejudo gave it his all, always brought the fight and can leave active combat sports competition with his head held high.

For complete UFC 288 results, coverage, and highlights click HERE.

This story originally appeared on MMA Mania

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