Video: Aljamain Sterling, Henry Cejudo get surprise run-in ahead of UFC 288

Champion Aljamain Sterling and challenger Henry Cejudo had an unplanned face-to-face encounter ahead of UFC 288 on Saturday.

By: Kristen King | 1 month ago
Video: Aljamain Sterling, Henry Cejudo get surprise run-in ahead of UFC 288
Aljamain Sterling at ceremonial weigh-ins for UFC 273 in April 2022 | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo have had their fair share of run-ins—online. The reigning UFC bantamweight champion and Cejudo have exchanged words through various mediums; tweets, interviews and joint appearances. Most of it fairly hostile, as potential (and now current) divisional rivals.

This past Sunday, though, the medium changed. The pair got to exchange words in person after Sterling encountered Cejudo at the Host Hotel ahead of their upcoming fight at UFC 288 on Saturday. The result? A surprisingly respectful exchange. 

You can watch it here: 

“Just wanted to say hello before, you know, I handle business,” said Sterling. 

“Okay, are you ready?,” asked Cejudo.

“I’m always ready,” said Sterling.

“Well, good luck ‘cause I’m ready,” responded Cejudo.

Aljamain Sterling discusses run-in with Henry Cejudo

Though it was only for a split second, Sterling said he learned a lot from his run-in with Cejudo. In a recent interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the ‘Funk Master’ said he got an idea of what he should expect from ‘Triple C’ when they share the Octagon. 

“[A] takeaway is him being unsure of himself because of the things he said,” said Sterling. “Letting me know he had a great camp; those are certain things that don’t need to be said. We’re going to fight. The fight’s a couple of days away. You don’t need to tell me, your opponent, ‘I had a great camp, man. Things went so well. I’m looking forward to [it]’. You don’t need to do that. 

BEEF WARS: Henry Cejudo vs. Aljamain Sterling | UFC 288

“I’m like, ‘Dude, I respect that you took the fight. I wasn’t sure if you were serious, but now we’re here and I look forward to the match-up because I know you’re not going to back down and I’m not going to back down,’” continued Sterling. “And that’s what this fight means to me, which makes it so important and what makes it special. You got two guys who are some of the best minds in MMA, in terms of breaking down fights, going at it and we’ll see who’s YouTube channel is the best.”

Aljamain Sterling talks next fight after Cejudo

With a win against Cejudo, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion says he has a few options to consider for his next fight. The first one is Sean O’Malley, the former No. 1 contender who earned a championship opportunity after his win against Petr Yan at UFC 280 this past October. Per Sterling, a fight with ‘Suga’ was on tap, but failed to materialize. 

“I was promised O’Malley after the T.J. [Dillashaw] fight if I were to look good doing it, and I did,” said Sterling. “That got changed. And I don’t know if I’m giving up too much information—I hope not. I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass, but that didn’t happen and now they put Henry in front of me.

“It was a serious [offer], so this is competitor vs. competitor, so I accepted the fight,” continued Sterling. “And I told the [UFC], ‘Well, after [Cejudo], then do I get to beat up the golden chicken?’ And they said yes.”

However, if Sterling vs. O’Malley fails to materialize again, then the Serra-Longo Fight Team product would consider his second option—a move from bantamweight to featherweight. 

“We’ll see how this fight goes,” said Sterling. “We’ll take it one fight at a time and one performance at a time. It truly depends on that.”

When is Sterling vs. Cejudo?

UFC 288 goes down on Sat., May 6, at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo headlines, while Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns are set to co-headline.

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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