Thursday, December 8, 2022

Aljamain Sterling Lays Out Next Chapters Of UFC Title Reign

UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling prefers a fight with Sean O’Malley next over a matchup with the returning Henry Cejudo.

Sterling defeated former champion TJ Dillashaw in the UFC 280 co-headliner last weekend. He returned following a rematch win over Petr Yan earlier this year at UFC 273.

Sterling has a plethora of options for his next title defense, including fights with O’Malley and Cejudo. He also has a slew of other contenders, including Marlon Vera and his teammate Merab Dvalishvili, on the verge of earning a title shot.

While Sterling doesn’t have a shortage of potential opponents, one contender stands out above the rest.

Aljamain Sterling Prefers Sean O’Malley Next

Aljamain Sterling, Sean O'Malley

During a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Sterling explained why a fight with O’Malley would be his top preference.

“I like money, money excites me, and if there’s a money fight it’s ‘Suga Tits’,” Sterling said. “The guy can fight. He’s got serious skills, and if we’re talking about the matchup that can go my way or really go the other way for him, that’s the matchup right there. Obviously if I take him down, it’s a bad night. I think O’Malley has decent skills off of his back, but I think I’d do the same thing to him and steamroll him as well. I can also see him catching me and winning, getting a crazy highlight…that would be the money fight.”

Sterling went on to explain that a fight with Cejudo is the least interesting to him out of all of the talked-about next matchups.

Cejudo and Sterling have been linked to a possible fight next, and Cejudo recently called out the bantamweight titleholder to “sign the contract”. Cejudo hasn’t fought since defeating Dominick Cruz at UFC 249, before retiring thereafter.

Aljamain Sterling Issues Henry Cejudo Ultimatum For Path To Title Shot

In a recent tweet, Sterling responded to Cejudo’s demand by offering a path to the title shot.

“King of Cringe vs a Top 5 Bantamweight,” Sterling replied. “Good luck Hanky! Winner can fight me in June.”

Sterling’s tweet would also axe the UFC’s reported plans to book a fight with Cejudo at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia in February. Earlier this week, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani reported that the Sterling/Cejudo fight is the UFC’s target.

Cejudo re-entered the USADA testing pool earlier this year and could be on track for a return in early 2023. He’s called out Sterling for his return and also is interested in a featherweight title bout against Alexander Volkanovski.

The bantamweight division is arguably the most exciting in the UFC today and Sterling feels matchups with top contenders such as O’Malley and Cejudo could happen sooner rather than later.

What do you think of Aljamain Sterling’s plans?