What happened to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259 seems as though it couldn’t have been clearer. Late in the 4th round of a pitched battle between Sterling and Yan, Yan broke Sterling’s posture in the clinch, forced him to a knee, and then proceeded to drill him in the head with a knee of his own, hard enough that Sterling was very clearly unable to continue.
Although badly shaken up, and clearly distraught over the sudden end to the bout (even if the DQ put him squarely in the winner’s circle) Aljo took the time to do a quick post fight interview. Afterward he took to social media to respond to fans and critics, and to give a few updates on how he felt about the fight and the way it ended.
Apparently, however, that was all a bridge too far for former UFC double-champ Henry Cejudo, who took a couple shots at Sterling over social media to accuse the newly minted bantamweight title holder of a world class acting job.
He got concussed and he couldn't fight but he could conduct a full ass interview and tweet after... this is why an Olympic gold medal is greatest accomplishment an athlete could do! But hey @funkmasterMMA at least you know you could make it Hollywood. And I’m not evening hating pic.twitter.com/YNUUMRfbvs— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) March 7, 2021
Cejudo took an additional dig at Sterling, telling the Serra-Longo fighter that his “defense was worse than the Capitol Building.”
Whether it was the insinuation that Sterling had been faking his concussion, or just Cejudo’s attempt to make light of an incident that saw several people killed, one way or another it appears the ‘King of Cringe’ decided he had gone a little too far. In a short video released via his Twitter account, Cejudo delivered an apology to Sterling.
“I do want to apologize to Aljamain – I really do,” Cejudo said (transcript via MMA Junkie). “I was a little upset. I was a little mad. But at the same time, I was more mad that he ended up doing the interview and then the tweets and saw the pictures of him with the belt. It just rubbed me the wrong way. But at the end of the day it was an illegal strike by Petr ‘The Ugly Potato’ Yan. I want to apologize to him for some of my tweets.”
“If I was to give Aljamain Sterling, curling silver, some advice: You need to understand your threshold,” Cejudo added. “You ain’t going to get somebody – especially the caliber of athlete like him … you need to understand your threshold and how you can finish the race correctly, especially within five rounds.
“They’re going to have a rematch, and I don’t think it’s going to change. If I was Aljamain, I would tell him to forget all that volume and just worry about one strike.”
No word yet on just when the rematch will be booked, but with Sterling apparently on board and Yan eager to earn back what he lost, it seems only a matter of time before fans seen Sterling vs. Yan 2 for the bantamweight title. And hopefully this time Yan will deliver a little less fodder for the more conspiracy minded fans of MMA.