‘Sugar’ is getting impatient with the reigning champion. The widespread expectation is for Sterling to defend the UFC bantamweight championship against Henry Cejudo. Although ‘Triple C’ has stated he’s ready to go, ‘Funk Master’ wants some more time off to recover from the overall wear and tear from his championship training camps.
During the recent episode of the TimboSugarShow, O’Malley had this to say about Sterling and Cejudo not having a date:
“Henry [Cejudo] has gone out there, in the public, said I’m ready, I will sign right now, I will fight whenever. We’re just waiting on Aljo [Sterling]. How long do they wait on Aljo until they say, you know what, if you’re not gonna fight, Sean and Henry will fight? What’s taking so long?”
Although nothing is official, O’Malley is expected to wait for his next fight to be for the UFC bantamweight championship. ‘Sugar’ became the number one contender after beating Petr Yan by a split decision last time out. Unfortunately, the Montana native could find himself not fighting until the end of 2023, depending on when Sterling plans to fight Cejudo.
Sean O’Malley compares Aljamain Sterling’s inactivity to Islam Makhachev staying active
On October 22, Islam Makhachev became the UFC lightweight champion by defeating Charles Oliveira. Earlier in the night, Aljamain Sterling successfully defended the bantamweight title against TJ Dillashaw. Four months later, Makhachev is defending his throne at UFC 284, while Sterling is still recovering.
During the same TimboSugarShow podcast episode, Sean O’Malley was frustrated by Sterling not having a contract signed compared to Makahchev. He had this to say:
“Islam [Makhachev] fought the same day, October 22nd, as Aljamain did. He fought for the title, both guys, same day. Islam is now fighting in February. Aljo still has not signed a contract to fight Henry Cejudo.”
‘Funk Master’ defended the 135-pound title twice in 2022, including an extended training camp when his bout against T.J. Dillashaw was pushed back a month. Although the bantamweight division is stacked with elite contenders, Sterling does deserve a couple of months off to recover. It’ll be intriguing to see if the UFC grants him the extended vacation time or moves on like O’Malley’ mentioned.