Henry Cejudo is undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes in combat sport, having claimed championship titles in both the flyweight and bantamweight divisions of the UFC.
However, he is also known for his flamboyant ‘King of Cringe’ persona that has attracted both criticism and adoration from fans and critics alike.
The Origin of ‘King of Cringe’
Chael Sonnen shed light on how Cejudo’s persona came to be.
“We never had a vision for Henry (Cejudo) to go out and become the ‘King of Cringe.’ Henry wanted to go out, he wanted to be known, he wanted to start doing stuff. He was so bad at it at the beginning because he had no level of training or practice and the only time he got to do it is when the live cameras are rolling that it was cringy, and so he admitted it.”
“Now this turned out to be the real brilliance. Nobody ever said out to Henry, ‘go out there and do things that make people really awkward. Go out and do things that make Dana White get a bright red face cause he’s so uncomfortable with it’, like that was never part of the plan that’s just what it transitioned to.”
According to Sonnen, the ‘King of Cringe’ was not part of any premeditated plan. Instead, it was a result of Cejudo’s desire to stand out and make a name for himself. However, as a novice in the art of self-promotion,
Cejudo’s initial attempts at being cringy fell flat and were uncomfortable to watch. But instead of giving up, he embraced the awkwardness and took it to the next level.
The Success of ‘King of Cringe’
Despite initial skepticism from Sonnen and others, the ‘King of Cringe’ has proven to be a successful gimmick for Cejudo.
During the weigh-in for Nate Diaz’s card against Anthony Pettis, Cejudo’s popularity was on full display. Fans chanted his name and demanded his presence, forcing the producers to pause the show until he made an appearance. The same persona that garnered ridicule online had turned him into a fan favorite in real life.
But it doesn’t really carry over into real life, as evidenced by what his wife recently revealed.
The Hot Seat w/Mr. & Mrs. Cejudo debut revealed Mrs Cejudo finds it cringey along with the rest of us:
“What is the most attractive body part of your part? Physical and mental.” – Cejudo inquired. Wife responded: “I think your back”
Cejudo later added: “You don’t like my cockiness?”
to which his wife replied: “He’s not like that. I’d never date him”
What Does the Future Hold for Cejudo?
Cejudo announced his retirement following his win against Dominick Cruz in 2020, but his coach, Eric Albarracin, recently confirmed that he will return to the octagon in 2023. His potential opponent for the bantamweight title shot is Aljamain Sterling, who currently holds the title after Cejudo relinquished it upon his retirement. With Cejudo’s successful track record and his ‘King of Cringe’ persona, he is sure to make waves upon his return to the UFC.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.