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Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Aljamain Sterling Confirms Run at Bantamweight Could End Soon

Aljamain Sterling (photo via UFC / YouTube)

By FCF Staff

As Aljamain Sterling prepares to fight Henry Cejudo at UFC 288, the champion’s reporting his run of fighting at 135 pounds could come to an end, sooner than later.

Sterling will battle Cejudo at this Saturday’s event, which will mark the third time he looks to defend his bantamweight title.

The 33-year-old has talked about the fact he’ll likely move up to featherweight at some juncture. But, while speaking with MMA Fighting recently, Sterling acknowledged he’s eyeing this bout with Cejudo and another fight with Sean O’Malley, as his last at 135 pounds.

“Very likely that’s the path, but I’m just going to see how this fight goes, how the weight cut goes..”

“There could be a chance — and I don’t want to put this in the air because people say stupid things like, ‘Oh, that’s the wrong mindset to have,’ and I’m like, ‘Really, because you’ve done it so many times? Please explain to me what your mindset has been in your fights beforehand or afterward.’ At the end of the day, depending on how this goes and the difficulty, I think I’ve done a better job so far of managing my weight. This could maybe even be the last one. I think it just depends on how everything runs.”

In addition, the New York fighter noted that by moving to 145, a path to the bantamweight title would be opened for his friend and training partner, Merab Dvalishvili.

“Making 135 is not easy,” Sterling said. “I do it. It pays the bills. It’s my job. We’ll see what happens. It’s not easy. I’m getting older, 33 years old, cut down from about 168 [pounds], sometimes I’m ‘65 to ‘68, sometimes ‘70 cutting down. When I’m not training, that’s what I walk around at, that’s my natural state and I’m not fat or out-of-shape looking for a fighter profile. But to cut down, I lose a lot to get down to this weight, and I feel like my body, it’s become more difficult to make the weight class. So we’ll see.

“I’m just taking it day by day, fight by fight, and then we can make a decision — and I would love to see my guy Merab get a crack at the title.”

Sterling (22-3) is coming off a stoppage win over T.J. Dillashaw in October and has won eight straight.

The former champ Cejudo (16-2), meanwhile, hasn’t competed since 2020 when he stopped Dominick Cruz. The decorated fighter announced he was retiring after that fight.

UFC 288 will take place in Newark, New Jersey.

posted by FCF Staff @ 11:19 am
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