Former UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo is determined to make a comeback and regain his position in the title picture. Following a split decision loss to champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288, Cejudo has set his sights on facing Merab Dvalishvili next. However, Sterling has already been scheduled for his upcoming title defense against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 on August 19.
Sterling, with a record of 23-3 MMA (15-3 UFC), has expressed the need to assess his physical condition before committing to the fight. This prompted UFC president Dana White to question Sterling’s decision to take the fight. In the event that Sterling is unable to compete on August 19, Cejudo suggests a bout against O’Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) for the interim title.
Cejudo expressed his thoughts on the situation in a video on his YouTube channel, stating, “If Aljamain Sterling is playing this game that he’s not ready, he needs a little more time, let’s make an interim fight between me and Sean O’Malley. It’s a bigger fight, it’s what the UFC wanted initially. It’s the same reason why they brought me out to chase and beat Aljamain Sterling.”
Despite his recent loss, Cejudo remains optimistic about his prospects, considering his three-year layoff, the narrow defeat by split decision, and his current ranking at No. 3. He reiterates his willingness to wait for a matchup with Merab Dvalishvili but states his full commitment if a fight with Sean O’Malley becomes available.
In the event that Sterling does face O’Malley, Cejudo is open to serving as a backup for the title fight. Although this is not his usual approach, Cejudo acknowledges that without the championship belt around his waist, he is willing to take on any opportunity that leads him back to the gold.
Cejudo concluded by mentioning the need for discussions with his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, and his desire to be appropriately compensated if the UFC wants him to act as the backup fighter.