UFC President Dana White had an interesting post-fight press conference following the Dern vs. Hill card on May 20, to which he spent a decent amount of time answering questions regarding UFC 292 and the main event between ‘Suga' Sean O'Malley and defending Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling. Sterling defended his belt against Henry Cejudo earlier this month and it was announced shortly after that he and Sean O'Malley would square off for the belt on August 19 at UFC 292 in Boston. It would be a three and a half month turnaround for the champ, and while he was eager to accept after the fight, he's acknowledging that his body must agree with his mind ahead of the fight.
Aljamain Sterling asked if he will fight on the UFC PPV in August.#TheMMAHour pic.twitter.com/ySvZEgkull
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) May 15, 2023
The comments have sparked speculations from fans that Sterling may not be ready to fight come August. He's had issues with injuries in the past and notably had surgery on his neck a few years back. During his fight with Cejudo, Sterling's wrestling resulting in Cejudo hanging on his neck for good chunks of the fight. It's clear that Aljamain Sterling will do everything he can to be ready by August 19. His former opponent, Henry Cejudo, caught on to the rumors and immediately gave Dana White a call. Dana had this to say to MMA Mania reporters:
“Henry Cejudo calls me and says, ‘This little p***y doesn’t wanna fight. I’m throwing my hat right now. Let’s do it. I’ll fight O’Malley.’ So, Hunter [Campbell], is my neighbor, comes over to my house, says, ‘What’s going on?’ And I think we got his manager on the phone and stuff like that. Aljo’s one of those guys that just can’t get out of his own way. Apparently, he’s in for the fight. Why he said that? I don’t know. This is my life, brother. The fight is on, the fight is absolutely, positively on.”
Dana White is sticking to his guns through the chaos and has one fight on his mind at the moment: Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O'Malley. It'll be worth following how Aljamain Sterling feels leading up to this fight. It'd be hard to imagine the UFC forcing Sterling to vacate the belt after just a three-month layoff. If Sterling doesn't feel up for the fight, the UFC could certainly match Cejudo up with O'Malley to determine the next title challenger. This would ensure the champion can defend his belt while 100% healthy.
What do you think will happen at the top of the Bantamweight Division? Check out our UFC news for more fight announcements and breaking content!