Sterling defeated TJ Dillashaw at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. Since earning the title via disqualification at UFC 259, he’s won fights over Dillashaw and former champion Petr Yan.
Since his latest win, Sterling has hinted at taking some time off following three-straight five-round training camps. He sent a message to the top contenders, including Sean O’Malley, to sort out the No. 1 contender spot upon his return.
Despite his recent admission of a hiatus, it sounds like Sterling won’t be out for very long. Not only that, he has lasered in on an opponent to face.
Aljamain Sterling Says He’ll Face Henry Cejudo For Next Title Fight
“I’m announcing that I am going to fight Henry next,” Sterling said. “We are targeting March. I will say Ali, brother, it’s done but it’s still not done until there’s ink on the paper but it’s done. But it’s still kind of not done but this is the fight that’s going to happen next.
“This fight is going to happen,” Sterling continued. “Obviously, you guys saw the face off with myself and Henry Cejudo. I have no problem fighting Henry. Never ducked anybody a day in my life. The UFC gives me the toughest competition and I always step up to the plate and I always win, except for that one time when I got sent to Neptune against Marlon Moraes. For the most part, I typically win.”
Sterling’s comments come just days after he announced he’s seeking new management after a long tenure with VaynerSports. At the moment, he remains a free agent and is self-represented as he ponders his next move.
Cejudo re-entered the USADA testing pool earlier this year after a two-year absence from competition. He retired following a win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249.
Sterling had previously opined that his preference would be to face O’Malley next, as he feared fans wouldn’t care about a fight with Cejudo. It sounds like the 135lb champion has had a change of heart as he gets ready to return to the Octagon.
All quotes from MMA Fighting