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I don’t think it’s money - Sean O’Malley speculates on why Sterling vs. Cejudo isn’t finalized

‘Sugar’ is next in line for the winner of Sterling vs. Cejudo, so he wants some answers.

Sean O’Malley at UFC 248.
Sean O’Malley at UFC 248.
USA TODAY via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Sean O’Malley wonders why the UFC has yet to announce Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo as official.

Shortly after his second successful defense of the UFC bantamweight championship, Sterling revealed his next opponent was Cejudo, who he expects to share the Octagon with in early 2023. Sterling, Cejudo and the UFC agree on the potential fight, but it remains unannounced.

“It drives me crazy, dude,” said O’Malley on a recent episode of the TimboSugarShow podcast. “Why is this not happening? What is it? It’s one of those guys I feel like — I don’t think it’s a money thing. I don’t. The UFC would say, ‘Alright, next guy.’ It’s not a money thing, in my opinion.

“The UFC said, ‘here’s what you’re going to make,’” continued O’Malley. “Henry literally retired because he wasn’t getting paid enough and now he’s broke and wants to come back. He’s coming back to make the money he was — the same amount. Aljo’s not going to get paid more. He’s not a draw. That’s just facts. That’s not me throwing shots. Aljo would say the same thing. He’s like, ‘yeah, I’m not a draw, I don’t have fans.’ He knows. Everyone knows.”

Because O’Malley awaits the winner of Sterling vs. Cejudo, he wants to know what is causing the holdup with the announcement.

“So what is it? Is it a weight thing?,” asked O’Malley. “Is it an injury lingering? What is it? I’ve got to get to the bottom of this. I’m hiring a private investigator to follow them both around. Seriously.”

O’Malley became the new No. 1 contender in the division after he defeated former UFC champion Petr Yan by split decision at UFC 280 this past October. According to ‘Sugar,’ that win was enough to guarantee his first championship opportunity in his return to the Octagon next year.