Aljamain Sterling to retire from bantamweight, will return only for Sean O'Malley money fight

Aljamain Sterling believes his future is at 145lbs after stating his desire to move up a weight class once he faces Henry Cejudo.

Sterling most recently defended the bantamweight title at UFC 280 last year, where he dominated T.J. Dillashaw to win via a second-round TKO. Following his victory, the champ stated he wanted the returning Cejudo next.

Whilst many have now been expecting Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo to face off, Sean O’Malley entered the mix when he earned the biggest victory of his career over Petr Yan. The split-decision win for ‘Sugar’ at UFC 280 meant he climbed over 10 places in the rankings and now sits at No.1

In an interview with The Schmo, Sterling revealed that he’s already eyeing up a move to featherweight once he’s defeated Cejudo. That being said, ‘Funk Master’ also stated that he could be convinced to stay at 135lbs for a “money” fight with Sean O’Malley:

“After I finish Henry Cejudo, I really don’t think the bantamweight division has anything left for me, maybe a money fight with Sean O’Malley if you know, he can get his toenails in order and stay pretty on the sidelines…He needs more time to get ready for my grappling. I understand that we’d kind of just run right through him right now. Maybe that fight might entice me more.”

Catch the full interview with Aljamain Sterling here:

Sean O’Malley questions extent of Aljamain Sterling’s injury

Earlier this month, Henry Cejudo revealed that the UFC had been working to book him versus Aljamain Sterling in March next month.

Whilst the former double champ was more than ready to make his return, Sterling revealed it wouldn’t be possible as he had suffered a bicep tear and required surgery. The pair are now expected to fight towards the end of the year.

Weighing in on the situation on his YouTube channel, Sean O’Malley stated that he’s not entirely convinced by ‘Aljo’s injury. ‘Sugar’, alongside his coach Tim Welch, had both seen images of Sterling holding pads for his teammate Merab Dvalishvili. According to the pair, it would be impossible for the 33-year-old to do that with his injury. Welch said:

“Aljo [Sterling] was in the cage holding [Muay] Thai pads for Merab. And Thai pads are the worst. Some one kicks you powerfully, it just jams your bicep tendons and everything. It cannot be that bad if you’re holding pads.”

O’Malley added:

“I wonder if he’s using that to kind of just be able to chill, like, ‘I’m injured, I’m injured.’ So everyone can’t expect him to fight then.”

Catch the video here:

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