UFC 288 Press Conference: No Love Lost Between Sterling and Cejudo



UFC 288 Press Conference: No Love Lost Between Sterling and Cejudo

Well, the UFC 288 press conference went about as expected; the majority of the conference was Aljo and ‘Triple C' yelling at each other and I'm not mad about it.

Turns out, Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo really don't care for each other too much. This press conference seemed particularly hard to keep on course, what with the roast battle that was taking place between the two main event fighters. We got a taste of this during media day yesterday, but the top bantamweights came out guns blazing today.

UFC 288 Press Conference: Things Got Tense Between the Main Event Fighters

UFC 288 Press Conference: Aljamain Sterling

Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Aljamain Sterling (red gloves) celebrates with the title belt after defeating T.J. Dillashaw (blue gloves) during UFC 280 at Etihad Arena. Mandatory Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

The first question went to Cejudo. This, of course, is his first weight cut in three years. He was asked about this cut and how he's feeling. Henry answered but went on a tangent, which was a popular thing to do at this UFC press conference:

“First of all, I feel great. I want to give thanks to Dana [White], to Hunter [Campbell]… they gave me this opportunity. I know it's been three years. I never lost the belt You know what I'm saying? The way I see it, I am the champ and [Sterling's] the challenger.”

Cejudo then reverted back to the original question:

“I'm here to do my job — weight is good, I feel good. I'll do my weight cut in the morning. I'm super light. I'm excited to put this clown six-feet under.”

The champ started out a bit more respectful than his counterpart. He was asked if this fight felt personal to him:

“Not at all. I mean, the guy came back after a three-year layoff, that's pretty impressive. I thought the guy was joking round. I'm glad to see that he's serious about this, and I can't wait to smash another legend, another former champion…”

I blinked and then the camaraderie was over. Just moments after this, in a heated exchange, Sterling said:

“When I win, I'm going to retire his *ss again. I'm going to retire him and I'm going to send his *ss to the sport he should've been in… he should've been a horse jockey with that big *ss head.”

Cejudo rebuttaled, because why wouldn't he?

“A lot of people think I'm taking Aljamain lightly. But, how could I take lightly someone who walks around with an academy award like Aljamain Sterling?”

This, of course, is in reference to Sterling winning the belt via DQ when Petr Yan threw an illegal knee. Cejudo is under the impression that Sterling acted more injured than he actually was in order to win the fight by DQ because the fight was not going his way at all.

Both Sterling and Cejudo brought their best trash talk to this media event, it's well worth the watch!

UFC 288 Press Conference: The Rest of the Card

Obviously there's more to UFC 288 than Sterling vs Cejudo. We got to see some banter between other fights, the MMA fans making a lot of noise for Gilbert Burns, and we even saw Belal Muhammad turn heel as he insulted the New Jersey crowd. He can definitely expect some boos come Saturday night.

I'll throw out some more notable moments from this press conference.

A media member mentioned that both Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad were promised a title fight should they come out victorious at UFC 288. Dana chimed in:

“100%… Yes, the guy that wins this fight will get the next shot.”

Speaking of the welterweights, Burns was, given his jiu jitsu pedigree and Belal's wrestling savvy, who's the better grappler between them:

“I think I'm a better grappler, but the guy's a good wrestler. We kind of had one session where we wrestled at the gym. He freakin' headbutted me.”

Both Burns and Muhammad laughed at that. Belal was then asked about that training session and who got the better of it. Muhammad responded accordingly:

“Well I headbutted him and he got cut. So I drew first blood.”

Erik is a long-time MMA fan and writer. Ever since catching some Chael Sonnen trash talk on a commercial, he's been hooked on the sport. Erik spent a lot of time writing while attending college at Wichita State University. Now, he spends his time covering the sport of MMA, training in BJJ here and there, and occasionally hitting skateparks!