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Henry Cejudo Eyes the UFC Bantamweight Belt: Wants to Step in as Substitute

Henry Cejudo Eyes the UFC Bantamweight Belt: Wants to Step in as Substitute

Henry Cejudo, former UFC bantamweight champion, is eager to reclaim the title he once held.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Henry Cejudo Eyes the UFC Bantamweight Belt: Wants to Step in as Substitute

Henry Cejudo, former UFC bantamweight champion, is eager to reclaim the title he once held. The fighter appears resolute in his pursuit, eyeing any opening that could expedite his return to the championship bout. This comes despite a recent loss to Aljamain Sterling, and an ongoing partnership with Merab Dvalishvili.

Cejudo is now vying for a unique opportunity: to act as a substitute in case of Sterling's withdrawal from a forthcoming fight against Sean O'Malley.

A Gap in the Ring: Cejudo's Opportunistic Plan

Sterling and O'Malley are slated to face off in the octagon on August 19.

However, Sterling has indicated that his readiness to return to the ring might be in question. He has expressed a need to prioritize his health before jumping back into another intense face-off, which may leave the door ajar for an ambitious contender.

Identifying this potential opening, Cejudo has publicly offered to step in against O'Malley as a substitute, vying for the interim bantamweight title if Sterling withdraws. "If Aljamain Sterling is playing this game that he's not ready, he needs a little more time, (then) let's make an interim fight between me and Sean O'Malley," Cejudo proposed on his YouTube channel.

Cejudo's Candid Take on his Current Position

In his online statement, Cejudo demonstrated self-awareness and candidness about his recent performance. The seasoned fighter accepted his split-decision loss to Sterling but underscored the valuable experience he gained despite a three-year hiatus from the sport.

Now ranked No. 3, Cejudo expressed confidence in his position and readiness to seize the opportunity presented by the potential fight with O'Malley. "Yeah, OK, I took a loss. Split decision, I'll take it on the chin, but there's still an opportunity there for me.

After a three-year layoff, coming back, losing by split decision, being ranked now No. 3, that puts me in a really good position," he said. However, Cejudo isn't abandoning his current plan of action. While he remains open to substituting for Sterling, he is still focused on his engagement with Dvalishvili.

"I wanted Merab, and I'm still willing to wait for Merab. But if that fight with Sean O'Malley happens to open up, I'm 100 percent in," affirmed Cejudo, in a message directed to UFC President Dana White. Stepping in as a backup isn't typically his style, but given the absence of gold around his waist, Cejudo is ready to seize any opportunity that comes his way.

He added, "So, if the UFC does want to have me as a backup, yeah. I've got to talk to Ali (Abdelaziz), and I do want to be compensated to be the backup fighter." As things stand, whether or not Sterling decides to fight in August, Cejudo is prepared to fill in, highlighting the fighter's unwavering determination to retake his spot at the top of the UFC bantamweight division.

Henry Cejudo
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