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‘I’m very optimistic’ — UFC’s Aljamain Sterling heading to Colombia for stem cell treatment

The UFC bantamweight champion is pulling out all the stops to avoid undergoing surgery on his injured bicep. 

Aljamain Sterling after UFC 280 this past October.
Aljamain Sterling after UFC 280 this past October.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Hoping to avoid surgery, Aljamain Sterling is headed to Colombia for stem cell treatment on his injured bicep.

The reigning UFC bantamweight champion was gearing up for Henry Cejudo when he revealed the injury could delay his next defense. Originally targeted for UFC 285 in March, reports have surfaced that Sterling vs. Cejudo could happen at UFC 287 in April.

In an effort to fight on that new date, Sterling revealed he would undergo stem cell treatment at the BioXcellerator Facility in Medellín, Colombia. If all goes well, the Serra-Longo Fight Team product said it would be a ‘game changer’ for his expected return to the Octagon.

“I’m looking forward to going through the treatment,” said Sterling. “Seeing the protocols that everybody does over there and what you put the other athletes through and some of the other celebrities, and I’m super excited. I believe that this procedure will help kind of get me through without needing surgery and get me back to competing and being at 100 percent.

“So I’m very much looking forward to this,” continued Sterling. “I know Joe Rogan has nothing but good things to say. I know Kamaru Usman, Frankie Edgar, Chris Weidman, Al Iaquinta, so I’m hoping I could follow in these guys’ footsteps and have nothing but success with the results and the trip all the way out there to Colombia.”

Pending the results of the stem cell treatment, Sterling will remain sidelined. That has frustrated Cejudo and other contenders such as Sean O’Malley, who was poised to challenge the winner of Sterling vs. Cejudo at some point. Both fighters have hinted at a potential interim UFC bantamweight championship being created, but there is no word on whether the promotion is considering that.

In his most recent appearance, Sterling notched his second successful defense with a second-round TKO of T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280 this past October.

When did Aljamain Sterling become champion?

Aljamain Sterling won the UFC bantamweight belt with a DQ win over Petr Yan at UFC 259 on March 6, 2021. He then defended and unified the belt with a split decision win over Yan at UFC 273 on April 9, 2022.

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

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