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Henry Cejudo beats Aljamain Sterling in ONE rules

Demetrious Johnson saw Henry Cejudo beating Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288, but he admits it was a close one.

Sterling defeated Cejudo by split decision. However, if the UFC bantamweight title fight would’ve been under the ONE Championship ruleset, Johnson is convinced the result would’ve gone the other way.

“Oh, 1,000 percent,” Johnson told MMA Junkie when asked if Cejudo would’ve beat Sterling under ONE Championship rules. “One of the things when I was watching with Matt (Hume), Aljo would shoot – and he did it with Petr Yan – he would shoot and fail his shot, or Henry would sprawl and (Sterling) would sit like this [swings head from side to side]. He would use the (prohibited) knee to a grounded opponent to his advantage.

“It’s smart on Aljo’s part because he knows that Henry doesn’t have the right tools. … But if it’s in ONE Championship, when he shot and had the quarter Nelson or the head, he could’ve kneed Aljo in the face and would’ve forced Aljo to move to not stall there and move to a different place. I watched the fight live, and I recorded myself (saying), ‘Knee, knee, knee, knee.’ And I was like, ‘Sh*t, you can’t knee there because it’s not ONE Championship.’”

Johnson (25-4-1), who recently defended his flyweight belt against Adriano Moraes (20-5) at ONE Fight Night 10, still scored the fight for Cejudo using the judging criteria in which it was contested in.

“It was a great fight,” Johnson said. “I was gutted when he came up short. I knew how bad he wanted it. And the same with Aljo: I know he wanted it bad, too.

“The biggest thing is that I didn’t account for Aljo to be able to wrestle with Henry. He is a gold Olympic (wrestling) medalist, obviously. He’s’ never been taken down in his UFC fights. So with Aljo being able to do that and get his back, Aljo wasn’t able to get his submission game going. I know he’s the better grappler, but I felt that Henry did enough to win the fight. Going into the fifth round, I had it even – 2-2 – and I felt Henry did enough to become the new champion.”

Despite the decision loss to Sterling, Johnson is still proud of his friend Cejudo and what he was able to do that night at UFC 288.

“I’m just happy Henry got to go out there and prove he can come back and compete with the best after a three-year layoff,” Johnson said. “I’m sure he made great money, and I know he’s got a baby on the way. Whatever he decides to do, I support him. And he looked great on a three-year layoff. I know I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t want to do three years and come back because it’s a lot. I fight better when I’m active.”

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