Aljamain Sterling, the UFC bantamweight champion, has given his verbal nod to his fight against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292. However, concerns remain about whether he will be physically ready for it. Sterling highlighted the nagging injuries that he sustained during his win over Henry Cejudo at UFC 288. “I’m still injured, like with my legs banged up,” Sterling said. “My bicep still sucks. [I’m] supposed to get another MRI on that. I’m trying to get to this fight in August. We talked a little bit about it, and I’m trying to see if we can make it happen, but my leg is still super sensitive to the touch… I hope I’m not ruining anything by me saying that. But guys, I did just fight.”
The UFC recently announced on Wednesday that Sterling vs. O’Malley will be headlining UFC 292, an event taking place on August 19 at the TD Garden. Both fighters had an altercation in their last meeting, nearly causing a squabble when Sterling’s teammate, Merab Dvalishvili, stole O’Malley’s jacket. Sterling’s last fight saw him take home a split decision win over Cejudo, marking his third bantamweight title defense.
Despite making progress with an injury to his foot through physical therapy sessions post his last fight, Sterling’s shin injury proved to still be a significant concern. “We’re gonna see because my shins are super sensitive,” he said. “Like, even just me touching it right now, they feel like mushy, almost, like I could push and make a dent in my leg…It’s pretty crappy.
So I’m hoping the sensitivity of that is gone in a couple of days, hopefully by next week, and then we could make sure that this is gonna happen. For real, for reals. I told him, yes, verbally agreed. But of course, my body has to agree.”
O’Malley earned his title shot after his victory over ex-champ Petr Yan last October and has maintained the status quo since then. Sterling had expressed interest in the August time frame and appeared positive about his chances of winning the fight. However, Sterling acknowledged that things could change, particularly if his body jet lags in the next few days.