Henry Cejudo

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Henry Cejudo
Born (1987-02-09) February 9, 1987 (age 27)
Los Angeles, California, USA
State championships 4 ( 2 Arizona, 2 Colorado)
Olympic team United States of America
Olympic medal Gold
Olympic medal record
Competitor for the  United States
Men's Freestyle Wrestling
Olympic Games
Gold 2008 Beijing Freestyle 55 kg
Pan American Games
Gold 2007 Rio de Janeiro -55 kg

Henry Carlos Cejudo (born February 9, 1987) is a freestyle wrestler, Olympic gold medalist, mixed martial artist[1] and author. Henry became an Olympic gold medalist at just 21 years old, the youngest American wrestler to win a gold medal.[2]

Wrestling career[edit]

Henry captured four high school wrestling state championships (two in Colorado, two in Arizona). He was awarded (the title) ASICS National High School Wrestler of the Year (2006).

He participated in two Junior World Championships, placing fifth in 2005 and second in 2006. That same year, Henry became the first high schooler to win U.S. Nationals since USA Wrestling's formation as the sport's national body in 1983.[3] Cejudo decided to skip wrestling at the college level and instead accepted an offer from USA wrestling to train at their main facilities in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[4] Henry won the Pan American Championships in March 2008.[5] Henry Cejudo is the youngest of seven siblings including Angel Cejudo four time state champ at Maryvale High School (Phoenix, Arizona).

2008 Beijing Olympics[edit]

Henry qualified for the Olympics in the 55 kg, (121 pound) weight class. He entered the competition in the Round of 16. In his first round match, against Bulgaria's Radoslav Velikov, Henry lost the first period, 2-1, and was forced to win both of the remaining periods to win the match.[6]

In the quarterfinals, Henry faced Georgian wrestler Besarion Gochashvilli and again lost the first period, but bounced back to win the last two periods to advance.[7]

In the semifinals, Henry again was forced to win the last two periods but did so for the third time in the tournament, defeating Azerbaijani wrestler Namig Sevdimov to advance to the gold medal match.[6]

For the gold medal match, Cejudo faced Japanese wrestler Tomohiro Matsunaga and, for the first time in the tournament, was able to win the first two periods which secured the gold medal.[8]

2012 Olympic Trials[edit]

After losing in the 2012 Olympic Trials, Henry Cejudo removed his shoes on the mat and threw them out into the crowd, officially retiring from wrestling. Immediately at the end of the match he lost, the crowd of fans in the arena rose in a standing ovation to recognize his achievements. As he removed his shoes, the roar of applause grew and continued to rise as he left the mat.

Wrestling credentials[edit]


  • NYAC Holiday Tournament champion
  • Finished fifth at the Sunkist Kids International Open
  • Finished fifth at the Junior World Championships


  • ASICS National High School Wrestler of the Year
  • Second at the Junior World Championships
  • FILA Junior World Team Trials champion
  • Pan American Championships gold medalist
  • Second at the U.S. World Team Trials
  • U.S. Nationals champion


  • Pan American Games gold medalist
  • U.S. World Team Trials champion
  • DNP at the World Championships
  • U.S. Nationals champion
  • Fifth at the Kiev International
  • Second at the Takhti Cup (Iran)
  • Third at the Ivan Yarygin International (Russia)


  • Olympic gold medalist - youngest Olympic wrestling champion in U.S. history
  • Pan American Championships gold medalist
  • Second at the U.S. Nationals
  • U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion


  • After going 2-1 at the trials Henry falls to Nick Simmons eliminating the chance to make the Olympic Team
  • Instead of ceremoniously leaving his shoes on the mat signifying retirement, he tossed them in to a standing ovation at Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Additional Wrestling Accolades

  • Four-time state champion (two in Arizona, two in Colorado).
  • Two-time ASICS High School First Team member
  • First high-school wrestler to win U.S. Nationals since USA Wrestling became the sport's national governing body in 1983
  • Nationally ranked number one at 125 pounds by Wrestling International News magazine
  • Rocky Mountain Nationals Champion
Henry Cejudo
Born (1987-02-09) February 9, 1987 (age 27)
San Jose, California, United States
Other names DC
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 4 in (163 cm)
Weight 135 lb (61 kg; 9 st 9 lb)
Division Bantamweight
Style Freestyle Wrestling
Fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Rank Grand Master of Sports in Freestyle Wrestling
Wrestling Olympic Gold Medalist
Years active 2013–present (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
Total 6
Wins 6
By knockout 3
By submission 1
By decision 2
Losses 0
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

On Jan. 30, 2013, Cejudo announced on his Twitter page that he plans to begin training for a career in MMA.[9][10] Despite wrestling at 121 pounds during his wrestling career, Cejudo fought at 135 pounds in his MMA debut.[11] He defeated Michael Poe by submission due to punches in his MMA debut on March 2, 2013, for the Arizona-based World Fighting Federation.[12]

Over the next year, Cejudo amassed an undefeated record of 6-0 with three wins by TKO, one by submission, and two by decision. Prior to signing with the UFC, Cejudo was listed as the #1 ranked Bantamweight prospect in the MMA Prospects Report 2013.[13]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

On July 25, 2014, Cejudo signed with the UFC.[14] Cejudo is expected to face Scott Jorgensen on August 30, 2014 at UFC 177.[15]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 6–0 Elias Garcia Decision (unanimous) Legacy FC 27 January 31, 2014 3 5:00 Houston, Texas, United States 128 lb catchweight bout; Cejudo missed weight
Win 5–0 Ryan Hollis Decision (unanimous) Legacy FC 24 October 11, 2013 3 5:00 Dallas, Texas, United States
Win 4–0 Miguelito Marti TKO (punches) Gladiator Challenge: American Dream May 18, 2013 1 1:43 Lincoln, California, United States
Win 3–0 Anthony Sessions TKO (punches) WFF 10: Cejudo v Sessions April 19, 2013 1 4:23 Chandler, Arizona, United States
Win 2–0 Sean Henry Barnett TKO (punches) Gladiator Challenge: Battleground March 24, 2013 1 4:55 San Jacinto, California, United States
Win 1–0 Michael Poe Submission (punches) WFF MMA: Pascua Yaqui Fights 4 March 2, 2013 1 1:25 Tucson, Arizona, United States

Personal life[edit]

Cejudo, the youngest of six children, was born on February 9, 1987, in South Central Los Angeles, California, to Mexican parents. Cejudo’s father, who was frequently in and out of the California penal system, was absent from Henry’s life starting at a young age. In 1991, Henry’s mother made the decision to move to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to raise her six young children on her own. She frequently had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. As a result, Henry’s early childhood was spent moving from state to state, until his family finally settled in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Cejudo children were raised in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Las Cruces, and Phoenix. All six children slept on the floor and often did not know where their next meal would come from. Motivated by the hardships of his childhood, Henry immersed himself in school and athletics. Although the odds were stacked against him, he used wrestling to keep him out of trouble. Henry’s brother, Angel, introduced him to the sport of wrestling. From the beginning he was determined to prove himself to the world and to the father that he never really knew. Driven by desire, Henry was focused on winning the World and Olympic championships.

Henry and his brother dominated the competition while attending high school. Impressed by their accomplishments, the national developmental freestyle coach for USA Wrestling invited both Angel and Henry to attend the resident freestyle program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Henry completed his education while attending the program. Upon graduation, he took the bold and highly unusual road to the Olympic gold, foregoing the customary route of a collegiate wrestling program. Henry began training full-time at the Olympic Training Center to prepare for the 2008 Summer Olympics. He then went on to represent the U.S.A. in the Beijing Olympics and brought home the gold. Henry not only achieved his dream of becoming an Olympic champion, but also made history by becoming the youngest American wrestler to ever win an Olympic gold medal.

Henry also has a nephew named Adrian Cordova that was a 2 time Colorado state champion in wrestling, he is currently committed to Iowa State.

Organizations that Henry Cejudo actively supports[edit]

  • R.E.A.C.H.E.S. – In association with the Brute-Adidas’ R.E.A.C.H.E.S. program (Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport) Henry presented members of the wrestling program at Maryvale High School, his former high school alma mater, with his signature brand of Adidas wrestling shoes.
  • 2016 Olympic Committee/World Sport Chicago – Henry was selected as an athletic ambassador for the committee and its legacy organization. As an ambassador he traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, to participate in the USOC’s bid to have the 2016 Olympic Games held in Chicago, Illinois.
  • State Games of America – Henry was given the honor of lighting the official flame during the opening ceremony for the 2009 State Games of America at the Colorado Springs World Arena.
  • United Blood Services – Henry participated in the 2008 Holiday Heroes Blood Drive that was hosted by the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes.
  • Maximized Living Inc. – Henry shared his insight on common and recurring wrestling injuries at a clinic for Maximized Living chiropractors in Arizona. Doctors from Maximized Living are currently the Team Chiropractors for the Olympic Governing Body for U.S. Freestyle and Greco-Roman Wrestling teams.
  • Phoenix Children's Hospital – Henry takes time to visit with young patients and their families at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
  • Warrior Games – Henry participated in the first Warrior Games in May 2010. It is a Department of Defense event in collaboration with the USOC, USO and R2R providing Olympic-style competition for America’s injured service members.
  • Beat The Streets – Beat the Streets is a non-profit organization that reaches out to students in New York City that are in need of moral support and guidance. The program creates opportunities for boys and girls from New York City schools to participate in after-school wrestling programs, and provides a safe haven and nurturing environment for students from some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Through Beat the Streets, Henry and other high profile athletes offer guidance and play an active role in encouraging troubled youth to stay on the right path.
  • Make-A-Wish - Henry donated a portion of his Legacy FC 24 purse to Make-A-Wish [16]

Other appearances[edit]

The compelling story of Henry Cejudo’s triumphant journey to Olympic gold quickly captivated the nation and turned Henry into an instant celebrity. He immediately began to use his newfound celebrity as a platform to inspire millions of young athletes through in-depth interviews and high profile television appearances.

While in Beijing, Henry appeared on numerous national television programs including NBC’s Today, CBS’ Early Morning Show and ABC’s Nightly News.

Other appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, ESPN’s SportsCenter, Access Hollywood, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Japan’s popular Ninja Warrior television show, in which Cejudo was one of the 100 contestants in the 21st SASUKE tournament, along with Tomohiro Matsunaga, the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist that Henry defeated, and various local news programs across the nation. Henry also had the distinct honor of presenting one of three scholarships to a deserving Hispanic student during Univision’s “6th Annual Premios Juventud Youth Awards”. Henry was also recognized during Univision’s Tecate Premios Deportes 2008 broadcast as one of 2008’s outstanding Hispanic athletes.

Henry was named one of Arizona’s ten most fascinating people by The Arizona Republic in 2008 and continues to be featured in numerous publications such as Latino Perspectives Magazine and Sports Illustrated. On April 1, 2010, he was featured in the Los Angeles Times article, “Athletes Without Borders”.

Henry also lit the torch at the opening ceremonies of the 2009 State Games of America in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 30, 2009.


External links[edit]