Saturday, December 3, 2022

White Raises One Name When Asked About Sterling’s Next Bout

Following Aljamain Sterling’s successful defense of his title at UFC 280, Dana White has suggested a former two-division champion as the next challenger for the bantamweight belt.

Sterling met T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event of UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, where Dillashaw hoped to claim the promotion’s bantamweight title for a third time. The 36-year-old unfortunately got off to a poor start early in the fight due to a dislocated shoulder, an injury he later revealed had been sustained during his training camp.

With Dillashaw’s shoulder compromised and the former champion unable to grapple effectively, Sterling ended up earning a TKO victory in the second round when he battered the 36-year-old with strikes on the ground.

The victory was Sterling’s second defense of the bantamweight title after defeating Petr Yan earlier this year. White was asked at the UFC 280 post-fight press conference what the plan was for Sterling’s next bout, and the UFC president provided an interesting response.

“How about Henry Cejudo? You like that?”

“That Would Be A Good Fight For Him”

Henry Cejudo announced his retirement from MMA after defeating Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in 2020, but recently the 35-year-old has been making suggestions of a return to the cage.

“The Messenger” re-entered the USADA testing pool earlier this year and has been actively calling out fighters in a number of weight classes. The return of a former two-division champion would certainly be big news for the UFC, but White admitted there hasn’t been much serious communication with Cejudo as of yet.

Cejudo last fought when he stopped Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“Well, Henry’s been out there talkin’, and he wants to come back. How long has he been back in the USADA pool? Anybody know how long he’s been back in the USADA pool? No? Six months? Yeah, so he could fight. So maybe you do him and Aljamain Sterling next.”

In addition to Sterling’s title defense against Dillashaw, the main card of UFC 280 also included a bout between former bantamweight champion Petr Yan and #12-ranked Sean O’Malley. “Sugar” managed to score a significant upset when he walked away from the bout with a split decision win, which has caused speculation that he could be Sterling’s next challenger.

It’s likely that “Funk Master” will look to take at least a little bit of time off between title defenses, but in the meantime, White understands there will be consequences for him mentioning Cejudo’s name.

“Again, everybody’s gonna write that I said that that’s the next fight. That’s what’s gonna be written. But I’m just saying that would be a good fight for him.”

What do you think of White’s suggestion that Sterling’s next bantamweight title defense could be against Cejudo?

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