Aljamain Sterling has been on the fence about his announced UFC 292 title defense against Sean O’Malley. The event is scheduled to take place on August 19, a little over three months after “Funkmaster’s” recent championship bout with Henry Cejudo at UFC 288. Sterling won the bout via a hard-fought split decision, marking his third title defense.
But despite the champion’s non-committal response, UFC president Dana White confirmed with the media on Saturday that the fight will go on as planned.
Aljamain Sterling doubts he’ll be physically ready by August
Even before the fight was officially announced last week, Aljamain Sterling has been apprehensive and “frustrated” with the idea of a quick turnaround. And as he revealed in a recent YouTube video, he feels he won’t be physically ready in time for the intended date.
“I’m still injured. My leg’s banged up. My bicep still sucks. I’m supposed to get another MRI on that. I’m trying to get to this fight in August. We’ve talked a little bit about it, and we’re trying to see if we can make it happen. But my leg is still super sensitive to the touch.”
Sterling says he did agree to the fight, but also affirmed that he should be in good enough shape.
“I told him yes, verbally agreed. But of course, my body has to agree.”
Dana White says Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley is on for UFC 292
During Saturday’s post-fight scrum after UFC Vegas 73, president Dana White confirmed with reporters that the Aljamain Sterling-Sean O’Malley title fight will go on as planned. He then revealed a replacement offer while giving a little cash incentive to a media member.
“He’s fighting. Do you want me to explain what’s going on in the mind of f—ng Aljo?
“Henry Cejudo calls me and says ‘this little p-ssy doesn’t want to fight. I’ll take the fight. I’m throwing my name in the hat right now. Let’s do it. I’ll fight O’Malley….’ So Hunter (Campbell) is my neighbor, comes over to my house, said ‘what’s going on?’ We got his manager on the phone, stuff like that.
“Aljo’s one of those guys who just can’t get out of his own way. Apparently, he’s in for the fight. Why he said that, who knows.
“The fight is on. The fight is absolutely, positively on.”
White further went after Aljamain Sterling a little bit when asked about the latter’s supposed plans to move up in weight.
“Aljo’s f—ng up this whole press conference tonight. Aljo will be in Boston versus O’Malley. That’s happening.”
For his part, O’Malley says he’s showing up on fight night, whether or not he faces Sterling.
UFC 292 has one more announced title fight
Another announced bout for UFC 292 is Zhang Weili’s strawweight title defense in her second stint as champion. She is slated to face number four-ranked Amanda Lemos in the co-main event.
Lemos (13-2-1) won two of her three fights in 2022, defeating Michelle Waterson via submission in July and Marina Rodriguez via TKO in November. She is on a two-fight win streak.
As for Weili (23-3), she got herself back to title contention with a convincing spinning backfist knockout win over former champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She reclaimed the undisputed 115-pound title at UFC 281 last November, when she submitted another former champion Carla Esparza in the second round. Like Lemos, Weili is on a two-fight win streak.
UFC 292 will take place at the TD Garden in Boston. It will be the organization’s first event since 2019, when former middleweight champion Chris Weidman faced Dominick Reyes in his light heavyweight debut.
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