At UFC 288, Aljamain Sterling defended his bantamweight title after defeating Henry Cejudo by split decision (48-47×2, 47-48) in a five-round battle. Sterling outstruck Cejudo 135 to 99 in crucial strikes and outwrestled the Olympic gold medallist in freestyle wrestling 4 to 3. Despite the statistics favoring Sterling, the fight was tight, with Conor McGregor feeling Sterling won by a bigger margin than the official judges.
Cejudo had been out of the ring for three years after retiring as the 135-pound and men’s flyweight division champions. To maintain his title against the hard-charging, but probably rusty, Cejudo, Sterling used a variety of stance switches, an active kicking game, and some critical takedowns.
Following the battle, top 135-pound challenger Sean O’Malley was invited into the Octagon to promote his forthcoming title shot against Sterling. Words were exchanged, and O’Malley threw away his jacket, infuriating Sterling’s buddy Merab Dvalishvili. UFC President Dana White stated during the post-fight news conference that O’Malley would face Sterling again.
Aljamain Sterling wants Sean O’Malley next
After successfully defending his bantamweight title against Henry Cejudo, Aljamain Sterling has turned his attention to the next challenge. Sterling has stated that he wants Sean O’Malley as his next fight, and the two stared each other down in the cage before O’Malley entered the octagon. Sterling employed a myriad of stance switches, an active kicking game, and some key takedowns to retain his title against the hard-charging Cejudo. Sterling believes that O’Malley is the next big challenge, and he will be ready to defend his title against him.
O’Malley is another fighter who has shown great skill. With a record of 16-1, he has been at a high level in the bantamweight division, where he stands out for his great precision. Therefore, Sterling will have a worthy opponent to keep his newly defended belt and extend his record of consecutive defenses.
Have we seen Cejudo’s last fight?
Cejudo didn’t officially announce his retirement, but he shared his lack of motivation to compete for anything besides titles, recognizing Saturday’s loss could have been his final fight. Sterling now wants Sean O’Malley as his next fight, with the pair staring one another down in the cage before O’Malley entered the octagon, and the pair faced off.
As a result, Cejudo’s great career in the UFC may have come to an end. He had a 10-0 winning streak until losing his fight against Demetrious Johnson for the flyweight belt, which he subsequently won against Johnson himself in August 2018. He won the bantamweight title two years after that, but he retired only 15 days later.