Sterling claimed the title after Petr Yan blasted him with an illegal knee strike in the fourth round in their championship fight this past Saturday night. Yan was warned by referee Mark Smith that Sterling was a downed opponent with at least one knee still on the canvas but he still unleashed the knee strike that landed flush.
When Sterling was unable to continue, the fight was stopped and Yan was disqualified because the strike was considered a deliberate foul by the referee. As a result, Sterling was crowned champion and he addressed the situation immediately after the fight, which led to Cejudo taking shots at him over social media.
“He got concussed and he couldn’t fight but he could conduct a full ass interview and tweet after,” Cejudo wrote on Twitter. “This is why an Olympic gold medal is greatest accomplishment an athlete could do! But hey Aljamain Sterling, at least you know you could make it Hollywood. And I’m not [even] hating.”
He got concussed and he couldn't fight but he could conduct a full ass interview and tweet after... this is why an Olympic gold medal is greatest accomplishment an athlete could do! But hey @funkmasterMMA at least you know you could make it Hollywood. And I’m not evening hating pic.twitter.com/YNUUMRfbvs— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) March 7, 2021
After releasing that message, Cejudo made a separate video on Twitter talking about the way the bantamweight title fight played out while also apologizing to Sterling for his remarks.
“I do want to apologize to Aljamain. I really do,” Cejudo said. “Because I was a little upset, a little mad but at the same time I was more mad the fact that he ended up doing the interview and the tweets and I saw the pictures with him and the belt and it just rubbed me the wrong [way].
“But at the end of the day, it was an illegal strike by Petr ‘The Ugly Potato’ Yan. For that reason, that’s just the way the fight goes. I want to apologize to him for some of my tweets because I was just a little upset by it. That’s the name of the game.”
Sterling addressed criticisms from several fighters after the event ended including an exchange with Yan after the new bantamweight champion was seen celebrating with friends and family, who made the trip to Las Vegas for his fight.
For his part, Cejudo isn’t giving Sterling any further grief, especially after he was the person who suffered the ill effects of the illegal knee from Yan.
Cejudo did offer some advice to Sterling about the rematch, which is expected to be scheduled as soon as both fighters are cleared to return to action.
“They’re going to have a rematch. I don’t think it’s going to change,” Cejudo said. “I think if I was to tell Aljamain, forget all that volume. Just focus on those big, one strikes. Just try to get through Petr Yan, Petr ‘The Ugly Potato’ Yan this time.”