• May 31, 2023

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UFC finalizing Aljamain Sterling-Henry Cejudo title fight

UFC is concluding a bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo, both fighters announced on social media.

Contracts have not been signed, but the 135-pound title fight is being targeted for May 6. UFC has not officially revealed an event on that date, but it is expected to be a UFC 288 pay-per-view at a location to be determined.

“I’m fighting May 6 against Henry Cejudo and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Sterling said on his “Weekly Scrap” podcast.

UFC has been interested in this matchup for months, since Sterling (22-3) defended his title for the first time versus former champion TJ Dillashaw in October. The fight likely would have happened sooner, potentially next month, but Sterling has been rehabbing a lingering injury to his biceps.

Fighting out of Cortland, New York, Sterling is on an eight-fight winning streak.

One of those victories came under some controversy, when he won the title over Petr Yan by disqualification in 2021. Since then, Sterling has legitimized his title reign, defeating Yan in a rematch before submitting Dillashaw.

Cejudo (16-2) is one of the most accomplished fighters in combat sports history. The 36-year-old is an Olympic gold-medal wrestler and two-weight UFC champion. He became UFC’s flyweight champion in 2018 and its bantamweight champ in 2019. He defended the bantamweight title once before retiring from the sport in 2020.

Even during his absence, many expected Cejudo would eventually return. He has expressed a desire to eventually move up again in weight in an attempt to become UFC’s first three-weight champ.

Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will face top contender Beneil Dariush on the Sterling-Cejudo card.

While the UFC has not officially announced the 155-pound fight, Oliveira referred to it Monday as official on social media, and sources told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Dariush’s side has agreed to the bout.

Steve Carr

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