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Henry Cejudo returning from retirement, plans to re-enter USADA testing pool

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Henry Cejudo is back.

The ex-UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion is planning to return from retirement, with his manager Ali Abdelaziz expected to notify the United States Anti-Doping Agency to re-enter him into the drug testing pool on Monday.

Abdelaziz confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Sunday following an initial report from ESPN.

“Henry is one of the greatest fighters ever seen,” Abdelaziz told MMA Fighting. “I think the fans and all of us wanna see him come back. He is gonna focus on his fighting stuff, I’m gonna focus on the business side of things.

“I believe we will see him back end of the summer.”

The 2008 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling announced his retirement in surprising fashion two years ago after defending the UFC bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. That fight marked Cejudo’s sixth consecutive win, which included victories that allowed him to capture gold at both 135 and 125 pounds.

During that run, Cejudo defeated Cruz, Marlon Moraes, T.J. Dillashaw, Demetrious Johnson, and Sergio Pettis, which put him in the running as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport at the time.

Since retiring, Cejudo has consistently teased a potential return to action, although he never actually got back into the USADA drug testing pool. All retired fighters must undergo six months of testing before being allowed to compete again.

On Saturday night, just after UFC 273 ended, Cejudo announced his plans to fight again while targeting future showdowns with reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski as well as undisputed bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling.

Cejudo then sent a message directly at Volkanovski after it was confirmed that he planned to return from retirement.

“You’ve inspired me to come back,” Cejudo said on Twitter. “When it comes to wrestling, you couldn’t pin a tweet. I would take you down and choke you out quicker than a [Conor] McGregor relapse. Sign the contract.”

Following his win over Petr Yan to solidify himself as the top 135-pounder in the world, Sterling also said he would be open to welcoming Cejudo back to the division after he relinquished the title when he retired from the sport.

Now it appears Cejudo is ready to restake his claim with possible fights at featherweight or bantamweight when he returns.