Henry Cejudo Claims the UFC Doesn’t Care About Aljamain Sterling, Nominates Himself to Fight Sean O’Malley at UFC 296

'Triple C' believes Sterling's lack of marketability will prevent him from securing a rematch with Sean O'Malley

Henry Cejudo
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

Henry Cejudo doesn’t see the UFC giving Aljamain Sterling a rematch with ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley.

On August 19, O’Malley captured the bantamweight world championship, scoring a stunning second-round knockout against the man many considered to be the greatest 135-pound fighter of all time. Since then, much has been said about who O’Malley will defend his title against first.

Following his win at UFC 292, the champ immediately called for a rematch with the only man to beat him inside the Octagon, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, for a December scrap.

One fight that was on nobody’s radar was a potential rematch with Aljamain Sterling given that the ‘Funk Master’ insisted that win or lose, he would be moving onto the featherweight division. However, that no longer appears to be the case, making things even more cramped at the top of the weight class. 

Speaking about Sterling’s desire to run it back with O’Malley in 2024, former two-division titleholder Henry Cejudo questioned where that leaves top-ranked contender Merab Dvalishvili.

“Word on the street is, Aljamain wants to stay at 135 pounds which clearly makes him now the number one contender, but whatever happened to that talk that, ‘Whether I win or I lose, I’m going up.’ Where does that put Merab [Dvalishvili]? Where does that put his best friend? These are a lot of questions that I have. That a lot of people have. That the UFC probably doesn’t even care,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel.

“Why do I say that? They don’t care about Aljamain Sterling. They really don’t. This isn’t a sting at you Aljamain. I just don’t think the UFC really saw you as a marketing tool. You got wins over great competitors, but there was something that was missing with you.”

Cejudo believes Aljamain Sterling’s lack of marketability will ultimately prevent him from securing a rematch with Sean O’Malley and Dvalishvili’s friendship with the ‘Funk Master’ is only going to hinder the Georgian’s own opportunity to win a world title. 

“They are not going to give this dude a rematch against Sean O’Malley,” Cejudo said. “They’re just not going to. It’s too risky for them. They got the great white hope in Sean O’Malley. This wannabe Irishman who’s not even from Ireland.”

He continued, “The last thing they want to do is bring out the guy they were fighting with in the past and give him another shot at becoming champion. They’re not going to do that. But the biggest question I have is for Merab. I thought Aljamain was your friend. Are you gonna allow him to just get another title shot and then eventually maybe possibly then go up? I mean, he’s not gonna get it and there’s one thing I could say to Merab.

“This isn’t a kumbaya. Stick to your schtick. Stick to your gimmick and be a competitor.”

Henry Cejudo Nominates Himself as the Best Possible Challenger to Sean O’Malley

So if the UFC won’t give Aljamain Sterling a rematch and Dvalishvili’s own friendship with the former champ is keeping him from claiming his shot, who should Sean O’Malley fight in December? Well, ‘Sugar’ has already expressed an interest in running things back with ‘Chito’ Vera, but Henry Cejudo has a much better idea. 

“He can go the toughest route, the legend route, and sell the fight with ‘Triple C’ or he can fight the guy who beat him, stopped him with leg kicks,” Cejudo added. “But yet again, take another L. What is it that Sean’s gonna do, because remember, if you’re 0-2 against somebody, you’re not gonna get a rematch. This is why I’m putting my name in the hat and saying Sean, when I beat you, I’m going to give you a rematch.”

The biggest obstacle for Cejudo is that he’s coming off a bantamweight title fight with Aljamain Sterling in May. ‘Triple C’ came up short against the man that ‘Sugar’ just knocked face-first into the canvas. Will fans accept Cejudo getting a second-straight title fight, or is the narrative surrounding a potential rematch with Vera too easy of a sell for the promotion to pass up?

Only time will tell.

Published on August 31, 2023 at 3:19 pm
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