Henry Cejudo would turn down UFC title shot in protest if it came in Nevada

For Olympic wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo, standing up for what's right is more important than personal success. 

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Olympic wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo may very well end up being a UFC champion one day. If he does, it will be just the latest major accomplishment in an already successful athletic career.

There are more important things to the 28-year-old than success, however. For one, standing up against injustice is much more of a priority for the Mexican-American.

"To me it’s not so much based on success," he told MMAFighting on Monday.

"As a competitor, I want to compete and I want to accomplish everything, but to me the message here is to do what’s right. Will I become a UFC champion some day? I know I will. Will I do it now? Maybe I don’t have to. Maybe I’m more into protests now for the sake of this man who’s been wrongly processed with this five-year ban. That’s ridiculous." 

Cejudo is, of course, talking about the five-year suspension recently levied on Nick Diaz by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Cejudo is one of several UFC fighters who have announced that they wouldn’t fight in Nevada in protest of the commission‘s strange testing, disiciplinary proceedings with and punishment of Diaz.

"The Messenger" certainly wants to see himself among the great MMA fighters of history by the time he’s done, but he also has other heros who used other means of fighting for higher purposes. "You think of the great leaders who have done so well. You think of a Nelson Mandela, you think of a Martin Luther King," he explained.

"These guys never really fought back with fists and violence, but they came back with protests. Even Cesar Chavez in the early-’60s, what did he do? He boycotted not to buy grapes at that time."

As an international wrestler, Cejudo is more familiar with drug-testing than most UFC athletes. Based on his experience, Diaz being tested three times in just several hours by the Nevada commission smacked of unfair targeting.

"Throughout the period of 2004 through 2012, I’ve probably been tested about 100 times by USADA [United States Anti-Doping Agency], but never have I run into a case where somebody has been tested three times in the span of probably 12 hours," he explained.

"To me it’s something that’s unjust, and I feel like as an Olympic athlete who’s now a UFC fighter…I feel like I have his side because I’ve been there before. And not to discount the fact that he passed two tests and the only test that came back negative was a test that wasn’t even credited by WADA. 

"To me it was just like, man, I felt like Nick Diaz was targeted from the get-go. And I just can’t sit there and let this man be suspended for five years. I can’t even live with myself, because I’ve been through this process from the age of 17 to the age of 26."

With an undefeated record and a three-right UFC win streak, Cejudo could very well be in contention for a title shot against champion Demetrious Johnson. However, if the UFC came to him right now with that opportunity but said the fight would take place in Nevada, Cejudo said he would decline.

Right and wrong are more important than silver and gold, to Cejudo. "I’m just here to take a step for my personal view, and I just couldn’t do it," he insisted.

"Even if that means leaving the belt on the line and leaving somebody else to fight whoever has that belt at that time, I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to show the type of person with the type of character that I am."