Sterling (22-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) is projected to defend the title against the returning Henry Cejudo next, according to Cejudo’s manager Ali Abdelaziz. The pair even faced off during Friday’s 2022 PFL Championships event.
“Henry’s ready to go. I believe that,” O’Malley said on his YouTube channel. “I think Henry is wanting to fight. I think he’s coming back. Aljo doesn’t want that fight is what I’m seeing. I don’t know if he doesn’t want that fight because he thinks it’s a tough matchup, or he doesn’t want that fight because he doesn’t want to get back into fight camp.”
Sean O'Malley: 'I know my next fight is for the UFC bantamweight title'
Sean O'Malley says ex-UFC champ Henry Cejudo hurt himself by retiring: 'He kind of shot himself in the foot'
Sean O'Malley proposes interim UFC bantamweight title fight vs. Marlon Vera in March
Cejudo (16-2 MMA, 10-2 UFC) would return for the first time since May 2020 and attempt to reclaim the bantamweight title he never lost. Although the former UFC dual champ was on a tear before retiring, O’Malley agreed with his coach, Tim Welch, that Sterling’s activity will play in his favor.
Sterling notched his second title defense when he scored a dominant second-round TKO of ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280 in October.
“I think he (Sterling) subs him too … it’s gonna be a sweet fight regardless,” O’Malley added. “Me vs. either of them is massive. It’s gonna be f*cking epic. It could me a main event. It’s f*cking exciting sh*t right there.”