UFC 288: And Still

Aljamain Sterling defends his belt against the former double champ, Henry Cejudo in a contested match

Nathan Montoya, Editor of News

After his last fight in May of 2020 against Dominick Cruz, Henry Cejudo decided to call it a career. Accomplishing everything he wanted and no longer feeling challenged caused him to retire, however, his love for the game and competition never left. This would cause him to return to the octagon for a chance at defeating the current bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling for UFC gold. 

Aljamain Sterling has had three very controversial three title fights in his career, with the first one causing him to win the belt via disqualification when the then-champion, Petr Yan threw an illegal knee. However many people believe that Sterling was overreacting to the illegal strike and that his title reign would be cut short in the rematch against Yan. However, when the two fought again, Sterling would win by a controversial split decision in a fight that many believed Yan had done enough to win. Come to his third fight against former champion TJ Dillashaw, Sterling would win by TKO, but the win would be less impactful when after the fight Dillashaw told the interviewer that he had messed up his shoulders numerous times during his training camp. Due to this, many believe that his championship reign is illegitimate and that the much more experienced Henry Cejudo will make quick work of the current champ.

 Cejudo has had 4 title fights in his career, with two of them being against the arguable GOATs of each of their respective divisions. He would first achieve UFC gold upon winning a decision against the GOAT of the flyweight division, Demetrious Johnson, then defend it against the then champion of the bantamweight division TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw would cut down from 135 lbs to 125 lbs to challenge Cejudo for a chance at double champion status, however, the weight cut would turn out to be too great for him and he would be knocked out in the first round in under 30 seconds. He would then win the vacant bantamweight title against Marlon Moraes by KO/TKO near the end of the third round, and then defend that belt against the GOAT of bantamweight, Dominick Cruz. He would win via KO/TKO against the former champion, and after the win decided that he had accomplished everything he wanted to do in his career and hung up the gloves. Three years later he comes back with a vengeance and a new goal in mind. He wanted to win the belt, defend it against top contender, Sean O’Malley, then move up in weight to 145 lbs to challenge the current champion, Alexander Volkanovski, or possible future champion and current interim champion, Yair Rodriguez for a chance to make history.

However, that night he would not get the judge’s nod. After a long back-and-forth bout, where the common idea was that Sterling won the fight 3-2 or even 4-1. Sterling would try to utilize his wrestling against Cejudo, but the former champion and Olympic gold medalist would nullify most of the takedowns attempted by his opponent, and not allow much top control if he was on his back. On the feet, Sterling would outstrike Cejudo in rounds one, three and four landing more total strikes and significant strikes. In the end, he would retain his belt, and possibly put him in the GOAT conversation for the bantamweight division.


On top of the spectacular main event, the co-main event is nothing to laugh at either, with the fight being a five-round clash between top welterweights Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad. Burns has been on a massive fight streak recently, having three fights in five months. He started his streak by submitting Neil Magny in the last minute of the first round, then fighting three months later against Jorge Masvidal, where he would win by decision. Now fighting a little less than a month later against Belal Muhammad, but fighting this much would be Burns’ downfall. Doing a lot of weight-cutting, and multiple training camps would result in him injuring his left hand, essentially making him a one-armed opponent for Muhammad. Muhammad would control the fight, outstriking the Brazilian, and denying any takedown attempts. In the end, he would win by unanimous decision, granting him his long-awaited and hard-earned title shot. 

Out of the two fights, one favorite would win in Aljamain Sterling, and one underdog would win in Belal Muhammad, and both fights brought a lot of entertainment and more discussion