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‘Stay ready’ - Cejudo wants O’Malley on standby in case Sterling pulls out of UFC 288

If Sterling can’t make UFC 288 for whatever reason, Cejudo wants a backup fighter. 

Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 in 2020.
Henry Cejudo at UFC 249 in 2020.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Considering how many times it was scheduled and rescheduled, Henry Cejudo wants his fight with Aljamain Sterling to come with insurance.

Sterling vs. Cejudo was rumored to happen at several events this year, including UFC 284 in February, UFC 285 in March and UFC 287 in April. Finally the bout has been announced for UFC 288 in May, which both fighters have since confirmed in recent videos.

However, in his video, ‘Triple C’ revealed Sterling has yet to sign his contract, so the fight is still not official.

“Guys, this fight has been going on—first it was some time in, maybe, February in Australia,” said Cejudo. “Then, we were talking about April 15 or April 8 in Miami. And then now its May 6. Guys, at this point I really don’t trust ‘Al Jizz Lame’ Sterling. Why don’t I trust him? Because he’s afraid of the ‘Triple C,’ it’s plain and simple.”

As he awaits for Sterling to sign on the dotted line, Cejudo says he is preparing for two opponents. The first, of course, is the ‘Funk Master,’ who recently defended his title with a second-round TKO of T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280 this past October. And the second is Sean O’Malley, the new No. 1 contender after his split decision win over Petr Yan at the same pay-per-view event.

Should anything happen to Sterling, the former champion wants ‘Sugar’ to fill in then. After all, O’Malley expects to fight the winner, so Cejudo sees him as the best option for a backup.

“Aljamain Sterling, is he ready? Does he really want that smoke? Because, quite frankly, guys, I really don’t think Aljamain Sterling wants that smoke,” said Cejudo. “So, at the same time, the only thing that I could say to Sean O’Malley [is]: ‘stay ready, stay prepared.’

“Obviously, I’m going to be training for Aljamain Sterling,” continued Cejudo. “As soon as the fight gets announced, as soon as it’s not just verbally said, but there’s a signature on there. Somebody’s able to sign and then the fight is sealed and everything is good. But, at the same time, there is that precaution that Aljamain may not show up. Typically, I don’t do things like that, but I will adjust just in case Aljamain Sterling pulls out of this fight.”

Cejudo has not fought since UFC 249, where he became a two-division champion with a second-round TKO of Dominick Cruz nearly three years ago.

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

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