Just days after Vitor Belfort suggested forming a tag team featuring himself and Mike Tyson, the former UFC champion turned up at AEW Dynamite on Wednesday night — and engaged in a massive “brawl.” One which involved a number of wrestlers, including Chris Jericho and Bellator heavyweight Jake Hager.
Yes, pro wrestling is scripted, so if that’s not your thing, we won’t be hurt if you tune the rest of this out. But the appearance of Belfort wasn’t the most notable surprise of the night. Nor was it “Suga” Rashad Evans who stole the show. Instead, freshly retired UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo showing up at a pro wrestling event, on camera, alongside “Iron” Mike might be the most newsworthy item of the night.
Iron Mike Tyson is in the building!! pic.twitter.com/M926saW4nG
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) May 28, 2020
It has been mere weeks since Cejudo shocked the MMA world by announcing his retirement following a win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. The Olympic gold medal winner and former double-champ in the UFC is just 33-years old, meaning he’s got a lot of life left ahead of him. In recent times, Cejudo has suggested an appearance or two on WWE programming. But if we’re being real, the WWE has never been fond of smaller performers. The UFC’s former flyweight and bantamweight champion has never competed north of 135lbs.
All Elite Wrestling, a newly-formed rival of Vince McMahon’s WWE, is notable for two things. For starters, the pro wrestling company isn’t one to take itself overly seriously, frequently employing comedic angles and in-jokes in its programming. Which might be a great fit for the “King of Cringe.” Second, they’re far more open to smaller athletes, employing rather diminutive figures like Darby Allin and Marko Stunt.
They also have deep pockets. AEW, which airs on TNT, and Canada’s TSN, is owned by the Khan family. Who also own the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
In any case, if you thought Cejudo’s retirement was a ploy, you may mistaken. UFC President Dana White recently announced that Petr Yan and Jose Aldo would be competing for Triple C’s vacated 135lb title. And it seems Henry Cejudo himself has moved on to other things. Whether this results in a longer run with the pro wrestling promotion remains to be seen (if Tyson winds up in a storyline with Chris Jericho and his “Inner Circle” faction, that could be the case), but he certainly has options.