UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is just days removed from his last title defense, and already has his next fight lined up. The only issue now is making sure his body is able to go along with those plans.
On Tuesday, UFC president Dana White announced a number of high-profile matchups that will take place over the coming months. Among them was Sterling’s next title fight, which is to take place at UFC 292 against Sean O’Malley at TD Garden in Boston on Aug. 19.
Sterling just defended his title against former two-division champion Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 in New Jersey, winning by split decision. The fight against O’Malley would be the quickest turnaround of Sterling’s title run, and the champ hopes his body is able to recover from the ailments after the Cejudo fight so that he can prepare properly for his next challenger.
“I’m still injured with my legs banged up,” Sterling said on his podcast The Weekly Scraps. “My bicep still sucks. I’m supposed to get another MRI on that. I’m trying to get to this fight in August. We’ve talked a little bit about it, and we’ll try to see if we can make it happen. But my leg is still super sensitive to the touch. I hope I’m not ruining anything by me saying that, but guys, I did just fight.”
After Sterling defeated Petr Yan at UFC 273 by split decision, he fought former champion TJ Dillashaw six months later and won by TKO in the second round to record his second title defense. That was the quickest turnaround of his title run, until now. Even though he’s still banged up after going 25 minutes against Cejudo, Sterling agreed to fight O’Malley in August.
“I told them yes, verbally agreed,” Sterling said. “But, of course, my body has to agree. It’s kind of like Manel Kape vs. Deiveson Figueiredo and he thought he was good to fight, and then his eye – whatever, whatever. And then I have to test my bicep again to see because I definitely feel like I tweaked it in the fight, but it held up. Even flexing right now hurts.
“So, I don’t know. We’ll see. So, you guys have the inside scoop. Gonna try to make this happen. This would be a sick, insane turnaround. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
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