UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling probably won’t defend against former two-division champion Henry Cejudo in March.
That’s according to the champ who said that he is still suffering from a torn left bicep. He further added that Cejudo’s wrestling style could make his injury worse.
I fought 2x and did 2 training camps with this partially torn bicep tendon, to keep moving the division for the fans and the UFC.
Now it’s time to properly address it. I’ve stated this before AND after the last fight. When is it fair for athletes to look after their body? https://t.co/WA5S7hZVrW
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) January 10, 2023
“I’m going to need this bicep to compete at 100 percent, and I don’t take Henry Cejudo lightly. … I’ve got to make sure I’m in shape, and it’s hard to get in shape when I have this thing compromised with me the entire time,” Sterling said on his Weekly Scraps video podcast.
“Yes, I can run, yes I can do sprints – those are all cool, but I need to make sure I have the grappling endurance to go 25 minutes.”
Sterling said that he trained for his last two fights while harboring an injury. He is coming off of back-to-back wins against TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan, which was a rematch. Sterling defeated Yan the second time by split decision while Dillashaw was defeated by KO/TKO.
Sterling became UFC champion in March 2021 after Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee. Sterling was automatically crowned the winner, which some fans thought was too easy for him.
He defended his name and the title in their rematch in April 2022.
But now it’s unclear when Sterling will return to the octagon.
Cejudo hasn’t fought since May 2020 when he scored a KO/TKO over Dominick Cruz in the second round and successfully retained his belt. But he then abruptly announced that he was vacating his title and retiring.
But Cejudo decided to return. He re-entered the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s drug testing pool this past year to be eligible to return to competition.
Cejudo, however, wasn’t always next in line for Sterling.
First, it was rising division contender Sean O’Malley. O’Malley wasn’t able to earn enough stripes from Dana White for his last performance at UFC 280 – so in came Cejudo.
Is AljoComain fighting Henry or not I’m confused ? He Said his bicep is torn. If that’s the case let me beat up Henry
— Sean O’Malley (@SugaSeanMMA) January 10, 2023
Now, with Sterling on the sidelines, O’Malley wants a shot at Cejudo.