UFC 288 on May 6th has now been announced by the promotion and will take place in Newark, New Jersey, but the expected main event bantamweight fight between current champion Aljamain Sterling and returning former double-champ Henry Cejudo has still not been made official.
The bout was conspicuous by it’s absence from the announcement, which did confirm that ex-lightweight champion Charles Oliveira will be fighting Beneil Dariush and Bryce Mitchell will go up against Jonathan Pearce.
So, is there another twist left in the tale regarding the protracted negotiations to make this fight a reality?
A video of Sterling and Cejudo in a brief backstage confrontation at UFC 285 on Saturday night suggested not as both men seemed fired up to fight each other.
“May 6, I’m going to bury your ass,” Cejudo was seen telling Sterling behind the scenes at the T-Mobile Arena. “May 6, I’m going to bury you — corny ass.”
“I’m going to make you my little b****,” Sterling responded as he was held back by security.
“Shut up, get out of here,” Cejudo replied.
However, the other man in the title picture, Sean O’Malley has since continued to stir the pot by hinting that he may be the one fighting at UFC 285.
“Can’t wait for May 6th,” O’Malley wrote, before adding soon afterwards, “Wait, is Henry vs. Aljo really not official yet?”
And setting the cat amongst the pigeons, Sterling replied by suggesting that Cejudo is the one who is standing in the way of their fight being made official.
“Facts! The turd isn’t making up his mind,” Sterling told O’Malley. “Be ready my guy. This is the fight the fans really wanted to see anyway.”
“As the president of the bantamweight division I demand a contract signed by Aljo by the end of the week or I will strip him from his title and book myself a title fight,” O’Malley declared.