UFC 288: Aljamain Sterling retains title with split decision win over Henry Cejudo as star hints at retirement

ALJAMAIN STERLING ensured Henry Cejudo had a miserable return to the octagon as he retained his bantamweight title at UFC 288.

The 36-year-old challenger, who is one of only four doubleweight champions in UFC history, retired from MMA in 2020 after successfully defending the belt against Dominick Cruz.

Henry Cejudo has hinted at his retirement after narrowly losing on his UFC return


Henry Cejudo has hinted at his retirement after narrowly losing on his UFC returnCredit: Alamy
Aljamain Sterling retained the bantamweight title at UFC 288


Aljamain Sterling retained the bantamweight title at UFC 288Credit: Alamy

But the Olympic wrestling gold medalist came out of retirement last night to try to regain the belt after a three-year absence.

However, Sterling, 33, made sure to stay on top of the mountain, setting up a showdown against rising star Sean O’Malley with a split decision triumph (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) before.

Cejudo’s wrestling skills were on full display and he defended multiple takedown attempts in the main event in New Jersey, defeating the Jamaican himself.

But submission specialist Sterling’s grappling skills were also outstanding, and it was he who delivered the cleaner shots throughout the five rounds.

The defending champion’s performance proved sufficient for a third successful defense in 2022 following his decision win over Petr Yan and TKO win over TJ Dillashaw.

After his hand was raised, Sterling took on rival O’Malley in the cage.

The two faced each other directly before security forces had to intervene and separate the couple.

He is now scheduled to defend his belt against “Suga Sean” later this year.


Cejudo revealed he was “a little confused” about his future after the setback as he again hinted at a retirement.

He said: “I hate to lose but it’s also been three years.

“Who knows, this might be the last time in the octagon.”

Meanwhile, Belal showed Muhammad Gilbert Burns in the co-main event to set up a welterweight title fight.

American Muhammad beat the Brazilian on all three scoring lists (50-45, 49-46, 49-46).

He is now unbeaten in his last 10 bouts at 170lbs and immediately called out champion Leon Edwards and his closest challenger Colby Covington.

Muhammad told Joe Rogan afterwards, “My first thoughts are… New Jersey, you suck!

“My second thought, Leon and Colby. I come for both of you.”

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing zackzwiezen@ustimespost.com.

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