For months, rumors circulated that the Sterling would defend his bantamweight title against Cejudo early in 2023. Then last week, it was reported that the UFC was targeting that title fight for UFC 287 in April. However, speaking with The Schmo this week, Sterling revealed that those plans have now been pushed back to May as a result a new treatment plan he’s undertaking for his bicep injury.
“‘Triple Zero’ is next. 110 percent, he’s next,” Sterling said. “It’s not going to be April though. After talking with my medical team and the doctors, we’re going to give myself a little bit more time. It’s going to be May. It’s kind of crazy how everything kind of comes full circle. After the fight, I knew I had these injuries coming into the fight, before the rematch with [Petr] Yan, then the T.J. [Dillashaw] fight kind of kicked the can down the road. Then I knew bioXccelerators are going to be very good. I’m very optimistic about that and I think it’s going to get me back to 100 percent so I can compete against a tough competitor like Triple Zero and remind him that he should have stayed retired.”
Sterling’s openness about his injury creates a potentially damaging scenario for the champion, as it gives Cejudo something to focus on when the two face off. In similar situations, fighters often decline to comment on specifics surrounding injuries for just this reason, but Sterling says it doesn’t matter for this fight. He’s going to be better come fight time, and then the chips will fall where they may.
“It doesn’t matter what he’s got going on,” Sterling said. “I’m going to show up the way I show up. He’s knows what’s bothering me already. I’m going to get it as close to 100 percent as I can, the same way I’ve gone out there for my last two fights and the same way I’ve gone out there before almost every single fight. A fighter [who] goes out there is never 100 percent. We try to make sure we’re as healthy as possible. It’s no different for T.J., it’s no different for Cejudo, Petr Yan, it doesn’t matter who you are. You step into that cage, you make the choice to sign on the dotted line, pretty much you seal your fate. So whatever happens, let the best man win, and I feel like that best man is always going to be me.”
For the past several years, that has been the case. Sterling is undefeated since 2017 — a knockout loss to Marlon Moraes — with an eight-fight winning streak and two successful title defenses to his name. Should he get past Cejudo, that will mark three title defenses, breaking the UFC record for consecutive bantamweight title defenses, and with that under his belt, Sterling says it may be the last we see of him at 135 pounds.
“I could see a second-round finish, TKO, and after I finish Henry Cejudo, I really don’t think the bantamweight division has anything left for me,” Sterling said. “Maybe a money fight with Sean O’Malley, if he can get his toenails in order and make sure he stays pretty on the sideline and healthy, doesn’t want to fight anyone tough at the top of the division, because he needs more time to get ready for the grappling. And I understand. We’d probably just run through him right now. So maybe that fight might entice me, or I’m probably just going to go up 145 and let Merab [Dvalishvili] to reign terror on the rest of these guys in the bantamweight division.”
Boxing. Eddie Hearn predicts ‘unbelievably limited’ Tommy Fury will get knocked out by Jake Paul.
The MMA Hour.
Bellator 290: In Focus.
Fedor’s final press conference.
Derrick Lewis’s pre-fight press conference.
We’ll see how this goes.
Hey Anton…I’m always happy for my brother’s successes and while I have zero involvement in his drink, I hope UFC will share the revenue it receives with fighters. https://t.co/mknMZYVHMk
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) February 1, 2023
Alexandre Pantoja is incredibly impatient.
Road to recovery.
We had our first call with congress for our second round of passing the Ali Expansion Act.
Looks good to reintroduce our bill.
Reminder that Dana White worked with Trump to kill our bill in committee after it had 58 signers and we were told it was going to the floor for a vote.
— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) February 2, 2023
Makoto Shinryu (15-1-1) vs. Daichi Kitakata (20-11-1, 2 NC); RIZIN 41, April 1.
Yoshinori Horie (12-3) vs. Vugar Karamov (17-4); RIZIN 41, April 1.
Yusaka Nakamura (17-9-1) vs. Meman Mamedov (5-6); RIZIN 41, April 1.
Yuto Hokamura (14-12-2) vs. Koichi Ishizuka (19-5-1); RIZIN 41, April 1.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!
190 votes total