UFC: Henry Cejudo retired, bantamweight title now vacant

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One of the world's best fighters is no longer a UFC titleholder.

Henry Cejudo is considered retired and has vacated the UFC bantamweight title, promotion officials confirmed with ESPN on Monday. Cejudo's name was removed from the title page and the official rankings on the UFC website Sunday.

ESPN has Cejudo, a former Olympic wrestling gold medalist, ranked as the No. 3 pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world. After successfully defending the bantamweight belt against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 earlier this month, Cejudo announced afterward that he would be hanging up the gloves. There was wide speculation, though, that it was a negotiation ploy to get the UFC to sign him to a more lucrative contract. Cejudo no longer being a champion likely dampens that speculation.

In a social media post on Monday, the former UFC two-division champion sounded quite comfortable with his decision to leave the Octagon.

It remains unclear if Cejudo has removed himself from the USADA drug-testing pool. If he does so, he would not be able to return to the UFC until he puts himself back in the pool for a period of six months. A request for comment to Cejudo's team was not immediately returned Monday. His manager Ali Abdelaziz previously told TMZ that it was likely Cejudo would return to the Octagon, perhaps as early as this summer.

Cejudo (16-2) is only the fourth person in UFC history to hold titles in two different weight classes at the same time (bantamweight, flyweight). The Arizona resident is on a six-fight winning streak with victories over standouts Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw and Cruz over that period. Cejudo, 33, had not lost since 2016.

The UFC has not officially announced its plan for a future bantamweight title fight. But UFC president Dana White said after UFC 249 that any 135-pound championship bout would likely include Petr Yan, ESPN's No. 4-ranked bantamweight who is on a nine-fight winning streak.