Manager: Henry Cejudo is fighting Aljamain Sterling next for the bantamweight title: ‘It’s a done deal’


Henry Cejudo has completed six months of drug testing to become eligible to compete in the UFC again, and he’s targeting a title fight in his return to action after two years of retirement.

According to Ali Abdelaziz (Cejudo’s manager), the UFC promised Cejudo that his next fight would be against Aljamain Sterling, reigning bantamweight champion – it is just a matter when.

“He is fighting Aljamain Sterling,” Abdelaziz told MMA Fighting. “I love Aljamain. He’s like a friend, but Aljamain is fighting him. This is a done deal. They just want to figure out when Aljamain is ready to fight. It’s simple.”

“Listen, UFC does not lie to you. [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby does not lie to me. [UFC President] Dana White does not lie to me. [UFC matchmaker] Mick [Maynard] isn’t lying to me. I was told straight up. Henry will fight Aljamain .”

A source close to Sterling, who asked to remain anonymous to freely discuss the bout’s status, said the bantamweight champ hasn’t received any official offers for his next fight.

Cejudo made Sterling a priority ever since the champion successfully defended his belt against T.J. Dillashaw in October at UFC 280.

While fellow bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley is also in the mix as a potential opponent and has said his next fight will be for the title, Cejudo believes he’s the rightful challenger. Cejudo surrendered the 135-pound title when he retired, so he never lost the belt in a fight.

Cejudo ended his retirement in April when he re-entered the UFC’s anti-doping program with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which required six months of clean tests before he was allowed to compete again.

Sterling has stated that he would like to have some downtime after an extremely busy 2022 season and plans to be back in the middle -2023.. O’Malley has been acknowledged by the champ as having “actually earned” his title shot. He also said that he’s not looking forward to Cejudo.

But Cejudo is still waiting.

“Aljamain will be able to wait for as long as he likes,” Abdelaziz stated. “It’s just going to give Henry more time to train and be more ready, and they’re going to fight. Anyone saying otherwise is incorrect

Cejudo called his career a career after becoming a two-division champ and retaining both the flyweight title as well as the bantamweight. He won six fights, including victories against Dominick Cruz, Demetrious Johnson and Marlon Morais.

While Sterling currently holds the UFC bantamweight championship, Abdelaziz stated that Cejudo would meet him in an opponent versus champion bout when they clash.

“As far as I know it’s champion versus champion because Henry never lost the belt,” the manager said. Henry will be bringing his belt to this press conference. Henry will be the champion and speak to the media. The UFC will treat Henry as a champion. Henry, while you may see some differences in the fight, will be treated by the UFC as a champion.

If there’s been one concern about Cejudo’s return, it’s his level of commitment to the sport. He became a two-division UFC champion and then abruptly retired from the sport after a single defense in each weight class.

Abdelaziz assures Cejudo that he has long-term goals for his return in MMA. The fight with Sterling is only one of many accomplishments that the Olympic gold medalist in wrestle wants now that he’s back.

“This plan is what we want,” Abdelaziz stated. We want to defeat Aljamain Sterling. Respectfully, we want to defeat Sean O’Malley. He will defend his belt once more and then he wants to fight for his title at 145.

” I believe Alexander Volkanovski is the winner by the time that he makes it to the top. He will lose to Islam [Makhachev] very badly and then he’ll go back to the real, respectfully. I believe Henry Cejudo is going to be Alexander Volkanovski’s toughest fight at featherweight.”