A criminally underrated champion against one returning to action after three years in retirement. That was the situation when it came to the UFC 288 main event, going down Saturday with Aljamain Sterling taking on Henry Cejudo.
Sterling has never really gotten a fair shake for his efforts in the bantamweight division. Winning the belt by DQ left a bad taste in the mouth of many, and although the would defeat the man who laid him out with an illegal knee, Petr Yan, in a second fight, many would still refuse to give the “Funkmaster” his due. Then came a fight with ex-champ T.J. Dillashaw that might have silenced the doubters — had Dillashaw not entered the fight with a badly injured shoulder.
Cejudo, the main three years gone from the sport, is one of the few to have claimed double-champ status in the promotion’s history — simultaneous double champ at that.
“Triple C” was intent on reclaiming the bantamweight title with an eye on moving up to featherweight for an eventual showdown with Alexander Volkanovski. A third title would cement Cejudo is a class of his own, but Sterling was no slouch, and looking to spoil Cejudo’s dreams of becoming the only triple champ in UFC history.
Add to that a welterweight title eliminator in the co-main event, and there was plenty on the line at UFC 288.
Following the event, tune into the post-fight press conference to stay on top of all the latest developments. A live stream is available above.