Morning Report: Henry Cejudo predicts fight with Aljamain Sterling ‘doesn’t go past three rounds’
Henry Cejudo is back.
UFC 288 on May 6 in Newark, N.J. will mark the first appearance for Cejudo inside the octagon in nearly three full years. “Triple C” retired directly after an impressive title defense against his fellow all-time Dominick Cruz at UFC 249, scoring a nasty — and somewhat controversial — second-round TKO via knee and punches.
The bantamweight division has only filled with more and more talent since 2020 when Cejudo was last on top of the world. With Aljamain Sterling now the reigning champion, the Olympic gold medalist wrestler saw an opportunity too good to pass up for a return.
“I see Aljamain Sterling, I see a damn Benjamin. I see T.J. Dillashaw, I see a damn Benjamin,” Cejudo told ESPN. “I’m just here to rob the bank and that’s a reality. That’s how I feel and that’s what I’m gonna do on May 6 because Aljamain’s just not at my level and I love it. As a matter of fact, UFC actually hired me as a hitman to take this dude out. Did the UFC really want to give me a title shot? ‘No, but Henry, you’re stylistically the best matchup and we want him out of here.’ I’m like alright. Let me put on my gloves. I’m gonna go out and get that job done.”
Cejudo, 36, has worked with and helped several future and former champions during his hiatus, including the likes of Jon Jones, Zhang Weili, Deiveson Figueiredo, Demetrious Johnson, and Jiri Prochazka. Taking a backseat from competing, Cejudo now feels he’s only improved that much more to develop the best and smartest version of himself that he’s ever been.
Before he temporarily hung up the gloves, the former two-division UFC titleholder had already made strides in becoming a finisher. Therefore, Cejudo doesn’t expect that to change upon his comeback.
“In every sense of the word. Power, speed, experience, grit, technique, just all that,” Cejudo said of his advantages over Sterling. “Even the looks. I’m just better in every area than this guy. Aljamain knows I’m the guy out of everybody on the whole roster, whether he wants to say he’s gonna put me out in two rounds or I don’t deserve it, I’m letting you babysit my belt. He knows that I’m just the toughest matchup stylistically. I know he knows what I’m capable of doing. This fight doesn’t go past three rounds.
“I’m not impressed with this dude. I just believe in my skills that much. I’m fundamentally sound and I think that’s where I put all my emphasis. Those small details that everybody tends to overlook. Something as easy as your position.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Definitely not in boxing!
Not sure my grandparents would react this well to MMA.
How would yours do? pic.twitter.com/M3ikq5FqRe
— MMA On Point (@OnPointMMA) April 27, 2023
What outfit will he wear this time?!
1 more week and another press conference #ufc288 pic.twitter.com/Ys2b3dJCPO
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) April 27, 2023
BOOM!!! El poster oficial de #UFCVegas74 @RockyPMMA vs @IreneAldana_ 2!!!
CARTELERA https://t.co/K8553EDMga pic.twitter.com/HlUGDRsgt7
— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) April 27, 2023
Unfortunately the ufc has decided to pull my fight this Saturday. I’ve had an injury I’ve been dealing with that they advise is addressed. I was ready and willing and wanted to go in there and do my work but I understand there concern and appreciate there willingness to look out
— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) April 28, 2023
For my health before anything. For now I have to step away and get some things fixed up. The ufc is my life and all that I know. It’s been an amazing journey. I won’t say goodbye just yet but hopefully see ya later. Much love. BOOM !
— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) April 28, 2023
Maxim Grishin (32-9-2) vs. Philipe Lins (16-5); UFC Vegas 74, June 3
Carlos Hernandez (8-2) vs. Denys Bondar (16-4); UFC Vegas 75, June 17
Nikolas Motta (13-4) vs. Manuel Torres (13-2); UFC Vegas 75, June 17
Juancamilo Ronderos (4-2) vs Jafel Filho (14-3); UFC Fight Night, July 15
Michael Parkin (6-0) vs. Jamal Pogues (10-3); UFC London, July 22
Sterling vs. Cejudo really is about as good of a stylistic clash as you could ask for. Wish it was getting the love that it would be if it happened without an absence from Cejudo.
Happy Friday, gang! Have a good and safe weekend. Thanks for reading!
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