Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo appear to have finally locked down their fight date.
MMA Fighting confirmed the news today (Mon., Feb. 20, 2023) after Sterling revealed on his YouTube channel that he and Cejudo will battle for Bantamweight gold at UFC 288 on May 6, 2023. A location for the event has yet to be announced.
“I can’t wait for this match up, because I think that it’s two guys that won’t back down, and I think the wrestling might cancel each other out — we will see if I’m able to rag-doll him,” Sterling said. “We’re going to figure it out in the first five minutes, and from there, we’ll figure out if we want to waste a ton of energy grappling, or do we want to put [our fists] to the test and show the world what high-level grapplers can actually do when it comes to striking.
“I know you guys were impressed with [Kamaru] Usman versus Colby Covington , that was a striker’s delight, and I would not be surprised if this fight is exactly the same,” he concluded. “Henry, I cannot wait for the challenge, and I know, and I hope, you can’t wait to fight me as well.”
The champion, Sterling, and former two-division champion, Cejudo, have been linked to a fight with each other for the past few months with the upcoming UFC 285 pay-per-view (PPV) on March 4, 2023, as a strong possibility. Unfortunately for both men, Sterling has been dealing with a partially torn bicep.
Sterling last fought, defeating T.J. Dillashaw via a second-round ground and pound technical knockout at UFC 280 in Oct. 2022 (watch highlights). Meanwhile, this match up will be Cejudo’s first since retiring in May 2020 after a second-round technical knockout (knee and punches) over Dominick Cruz.
The current UFC 288 line up can be seen here.
- 135lbs.: (C)Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo
- 170lbs.: Khaos Williams vs. Rolando Bedoya
- 135lbs.: Johnny Muñoz Jr. vs. Daniel Santos
- 145lbs.: Bryce Mitchell vs. Jonathan Pearce