“I’m a Cejudo fan but I’m also a fight fan,” Ryan Warner of Wrestling Changed My Life Podcast said. “I grew up in the Quad Cities where the Miletich System was based out of, so I was going to Miletich in the mid-2000s and started following it then. I wouldn’t say I’m a diehard fight fan; I’d say I’m a fight fan.”
Warner may be on the fence about calling himself a diehard fight fan, but explains clearly that for the ones who are, Henry Cejudo is a talent to be appreciated. What he did in the wrestling community is nothing short of historic.
“If you’re a wrestling fan, you’re a Henry Cejudo fan,” Warner explained. “What he did was incredible. No one has ever gone from high school to the Olympics and skipped college before or since. Aaron Pico was the example, but he didn’t make it to the Olympics. Henry is the only one to do it.”
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Setting aside his fighter persona, Cejudo’s impact on MMA was massive. In 2019, when bantamweight star TJ Dillashaw cut down to 125 to take the belt from Henry Cejudo and kill the division completely, Cejudo finished him in 32 seconds. In the process of saving his MMA career and retaining the title, Cejudo single-handedly kept a division alive. Without Cejudo there is not a Figueiredo vs Moreno series or the first male Mexican-born champ in the UFC today.
It would seem difficult to top an accomplishment like that, but what Cejudo did in the wrestling world may have a case.
By the time Cejudo was a sophomore in high school, he was one of the best wrestlers in the country. The buzz around him was spilling over from diehard wrestling fans to the entire wrestling world. In August of his junior year, he made an unprecedented move that made him the focal point of every wrestling fan in the United States.
“He was recruited by the Olympic Training Center to move from Phoenix to Colorado Springs to live full-time at the Olympic Training Center and focus full-time on freestyle wrestling,” Warner said. “He moved there in August of his junior year of high school and, from there, all he did was wrestle like a maniac twice a day, sometimes three times a day, and by his senior year of high school he was the first high schooler to win the US Open, which is the freestyle national tournament and it’s the qualifying tournament for the World Team Trials.”
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Thanks to the move, Cejudo became the first high schooler to win the US open back in 2006. For context, Spencer Lee, Carter Starocci and Keegan O’Toole all came up short of that honor a week ago at the 2023 US Open.
Turning down scholarships to wrestle for Iowa, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and more, Cejudo set his sights on Olympic gold and achieved just that.
“The rarity of someone winning the Olympic gold medal is – there’s only seven every four years and he was one of them and he’s the youngest American to ever do it,” Warner said. “That rarity, that talent is real and we’ve got to recognize that.”
Warner’s Wrestling Changed My Life podcast went into the deepest dive of Cejudo’s wrestling career. Sitting down with Cejudo for seven hours, Daniel Cormier, Terry Brands and many more in the making of the audio documentary, it’s one of Warner’s proudest achievements. One of the biggest points of pride is the fact that it isn’t made for the diehard wrestling fan, it’s a series that anybody can enjoy.
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“When I do these documentaries I always do them as if I’m explaining it to my grandmother, who knows nothing about wrestling while, at the same time, going into enough detail to serve the wrestling fan,” Warner explained.
When you’re finished with Embedded and caught up on all of your favorite Cejudo fights, “The Henry Cejudo Experiment” is the perfect way to get even more intp the UFC 288 zone. Find out today why your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestler is none other than Triple C himself.
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