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‘Tell me that ain’t fire’ - Sean O’Malley calls for interim title fight vs. Henry Cejudo at UFC 285

If Aljamain Sterling is going to be sidelined with his bicep injury, then O’Malley wants to keep the division moving with an interim title fight against Cejudo. 

Sean O’Malley at Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva in October 2022.
Sean O’Malley at Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva in October 2022.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Sean O’Malley is done with waiting for the official announcement of Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo, so he proposes a new fight.

Sterling and Cejudo were rumored to fight on UFC 285, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion announced he had a bicep injury that could delay his next defense.

If it is delayed, then O’Malley would want the UFC to schedule him vs. Cejudo for an interim championship.

“It would be perfect: Me vs. Henry for the interim belt [at UFC 285],” said O’Malley on a recent episode of the BrOMalley Show. “Tell me that ain’t fire.”

O’Malley has contacted the UFC about the potential fight with Cejudo, but he was told to continue waiting for updates on Sterling.

“I wish they would,” said O’Malley. “I texted [UFC Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell], I texted [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby. I said, ‘Will you at least give me an idea? Will you at least say yes or no? Is Henry vs. Aljo happening?’ They just don’t know.

“They’re kind of just trying to wait and see if [Sterling] can or what,” continued O’Malley. “I’m frustrated, but I’m okay because I’m just training.”

As for Sterling, he said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani recently that he was ‘very optimistic’ about defending against Cejudo at UFC 285, pending clearance from UFC doctors. But if the ‘Funk Master’ is not cleared, he would be fine with ‘Triple C’ vs. ‘Sugar’ in the interim.

“I’m either fighting Henry or Sean,” said Sterling. “If Henry wants to wait for me, he can wait. Or if he wants to take the easier fight, what he thinks to be the easiest fight, and fight Sean if he wants to go beat up Sean, go beat up Sean. If Henry wants to wait for me, we can fight. But if he wants to say, ‘I don’t want to wait any longer, give me a fight right now,’ maybe they do an interim. I’m not mad at an interim. At the end of the day, an interim means both guys get paid, right? Because they’re going to now have a belt and they’re entitled to pay-per-view points. I’m in favor for anyone on pay-per-view on the main card to get pay-per-view points, even if it’s 25 cents, or 50 cents per buy. I think there’s a reason why you’re on the pay-per-view card, so it’s like, why not? That’s just how I look at it.”

O’Malley has not fought since defeating Petr Yan by split decision at UFC 280 this past October.

About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)