Henry Cejudo suggests UFC 292 interim title fight vs. Sean O’Malley if Aljamain Sterling out, open to backup role
Henry Cejudo is ready to jump back into the UFC bantamweight title picture if the opportunity presents itself.
Cejudo (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) is coming off a split decision loss to champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288 and has his eye on Merab Dvalishvili next. Meanwhile, Sterling has already been booked for his next title defense against Sean O'Malley at UFC 292 on Aug. 19.
Sterling (23-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) said he wants to assess how his body feels first, prompting UFC president Dana White to question why he took the fight. So if Sterling isn’t able to make Aug. 19, Cejudo suggests he faces O’Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) for the interim title.
“If Aljamain Sterling is playing this game that he’s not ready, he needs a little more time, (then) let’s make an interim fight between me and Sean O’Malley,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “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.
“Yeah, OK, I took a loss. Split decision, I’ll take it on the chin, but there’s still an opportunity there for me. After a three-year layoff, coming back, losing by split decision, being ranked now No. 3, that puts me in a really good position. I wanted Merab, and I’m still willing to wait for Merab. But if that fight with Sean O’Malley happens to open up, I’m 100 percent in, Dana White.”
If Sterling does make it against O’Malley, Cejudo wants to serve as a backup for the title fight. “Triple C” admits it’s not what he would usually do, but if that’s his path back to gold, he’d be “100 percent all in.”
“Typically, I wouldn’t be the type of guy that would do things like that, but right now I don’t have the gold around my waist,” Cejudo said. “So, if the UFC does want to have me as a backup, yeah. I’ve got to talk to Ali (Abdelaziz), and I do want to be compensated to be the backup fighter.”
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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 292.