UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (22-3) has revealed that he has a torn bicep which could alter plans for his title defense against Henry Cejudo. This is not a new injury and Sterling says that he’s been dealing with the injury for a while.
Sterling said on his Youtube page, “You guys are probably wondering if we’re going to fight or not. The fight is supposed to be myself and Henry Cejudo. I think that’s all said and done. It’s whether or not I can compete with this torn bicep again … I’m going to need this bicep to compete at 100 percent.”
The champion continued, “I don’t take Henry Cejudo lightly…I need to make sure I have the grappling endurance to go 25 minutes with a guy like Henry. He’s smaller, so his conditioning is going to be much better, because he’s not going to be cutting as much weight as he’s been cutting. So I’m already compromised going in. Is it realistic for me to fight in March? I don’t really think it is.”
The promotion had been planning on Sterling and Cejudo being featured at UFC 285. Now, there are serious doubts after what Sterling revealed.
Aljamain Sterling posted on Twitter and said that he needs to properly address the injury. However, he’s not going to get the grace that most fighters would when it comes to dealing with an injury. Sterling won the title by disqualification, retained the belt via a questionable decision and then defeated a one-armed TJ Dillashaw.
Aljamain Sterling is an incredible fighter, but his title reign has been marred with controversy. Now, he’s set to take on his toughest test to date and he’s having to pull out for a while due to an injury. He shouldn’t fight injured, but he also can’t expect fans to be understanding given the way his title reign has gone. I feel for Aljo, but I also understand the sentiment from fans.
So, what will the UFC do? They will not wait for Sterling in my opinion. I think they move to an interim title fight with Cejudo and Sean O’Malley if Sterling is going to be out for a considerable amount of time. Unless Sterling will be ready by April or May, expect the UFC to move on with an interim title fight.