According to former double-champion Henry Cejudo’s manager Ali Abdelaziz, a bantamweight title fight against current champion Aljamain Sterling is a done deal for an as-yet unannounced event next year.
“Aljo is fighting Henry Cejudo, it’s done,” Abdelaziz told The Underground. “It’s done, the UFC said it’s done. He knows it’s done, and I understand he wants a different fight. But, the man never lost his belt. He’s a two-time champion, defended both belts, and he left on his own. He didn’t leave because he lost, or he was injured, he just needed time off.”
“Guess what? It’s champion vs. champion, he never lost his belt. I disagree with Aljamain, I think it’s a big fight. It’s a tougher fight, he knows that, and I know that. I don’t think Aljamain will shy from an opponent, I think he tried to make Henry sweat. But, he’s fighting Henry.”
It remains to be seen whether this is definitely true and will be officially announced by the UFC, but if it is that may anger Sean O’Malley, who appeared to be on course for a title shot after he delivered a major upset victory over former champion Petr Yan by split decision last month to take the No.1 contender spot.
That being said, O’Malley has openly stated that he believes that the biggest fight for him right now is actually a rematch with Marlon Vera, who beat him by TKO back in 2020, so perhaps that’s what the UFC has in store for him instead.
As for Cejudo, he certainly has the credentials to get a title shot, having previously held both the bantamweight and flyweight titles before opting to retire in 2020.
At the time Cejudo was on a six-fight winning streak, having defeated the likes of Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw, Marlon Moraes and Dominick Cruz, but it’s now well over two-and-a-half years since the former Olympic wrestling gold medalist last fought in the Octagon.
In his absence Sterling has risen to become champion, defeating Petr Yan in back-to-back title fights before further solidifying his status as the top dog at 135lbs with a second round TKO stoppage against TJ Dillashaw in October.