‘He Cheated, He Should Be Punished’- Aljamain Sterling Says He Is Open To Fight Henry Cejudo Following UFC 259

Published 03/10/2021, 6:30 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MAY 09: Henry Cejudo of the United States celebrates after defeating Dominick Cruz of the United States in their bantamweight title fight during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)


Aljamain Sterling just became the UFC bantamweight champion under controversial circumstances. Sterling was seemingly on his way to lose the title fight to Petr Yan at UFC 259. This would be Yan’s first title defense, and ‘Funkmaster’ would have to fight his way back into contention. However, Yan landed an illegal strike while Sterling had his knee on the ground.

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Yan was disqualified for intentionally hitting a downed opponent, losing his belt in the process. The UFC is looking to re-book the fight, but ‘Funkmaster’ will be the defending champion heading into the rematch. However, Sterling doesn’t care if Petr Yan is crossed in line by Henry Cejudo, as the UFC should punish ‘No Mercy’ for hitting that knee.

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“If they gave Cejudo the fight over him, I wouldn’t be mad. You did something illegal, technically you cheated, so you should be punished. Do I want the rematch? Of course. But I honestly don’t care. This doesn’t make or break me. The fights gonna happen eventually because I want the fight, but I don’t feel like I owe the guy anything. Other than an a**-whooping.”

Aljamain Sterling: Will he fight Yan or Cejudo?

Aljamain Sterling will most likely be facing Petr Yan next. But, ‘The Messenger’ has been calling out almost every fighter possible ever since he retired and relinquished the belt last year. If he was to return, he would warrant an immediate title shot. However, the UFC will not let the Yan-Sterling issue be rectified without another fight, if not for anything else but the legitimacy of the title.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: (L-R) Petr Yan of Russia punches Aljamain Sterling in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The fight wasn’t going Aljo’s way, so this title reign has an asterisk over it. The only way to truly legitimize it is by having him beat Yan again. If the Russian wins, everyone can move on and the title doesn’t need to contend with the what-if?

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If Cejudo was to return, there are a lot of fights for him. But, he would most likely have to wait until the end of this drama between Sterling and Yan. The title will have too much baggage if anyone jumps ahead of the possible rematch. If Cejudo really wants to return, maybe TJ Dillashaw will want to correct some of his old mistakes.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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