Former two-weight UFC champion, Henry Cejudo has pleaded with promotional president, Dana White to install surging contender, Merab Dvalishvili into his planned May 8. title fight return at UFC 288 – claiming current undisputed champion, Aljamain Sterling will likely withdraw from their fight.

Cejudo, a former undisputed flyweight and bantamweight champion under the promotion’s banner, is scheduled to snap his three-year retirement on May 8. at UFC 288 in Newark, New Jersey – booking an undisputed title fight against the above-mentioned Uniondale native, Sterling. 

The Los Angeles-born wrestler co-headlined most recently in a bantamweight title defense against former gold holder, Dominick Cruz – retiring after scoring a buzzer-beating second round TKO victory. 

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As for Sterling, the Serra-Longo MMA staple managed to lodge his second successful defense of the bantamweight title at UFC 280 back in October on ‘Fight Island’ – dispatching common-foe, T.J. Dillashaw with a one-sided series of second round ground strikes.

Henry Cejudo calls for Merab Dvalishvili to feature at UFC 288

Slated to headline in New Jersey in two month’s time, Cejudo reveals he has his doubts regarding Sterling’s ability to meet the UFC 288 date – calling for a fight with the above-mentioned, Dvalishvili off the back of his dominant win over Petr Yan last night.

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“Dear @danawhite I want @merab.dvalishvili as a back up,” Henry Cejudo posted on his official Instagram account. “Let me show you what I can do. #andnew. I’m over here watching the number two and number three contenders and I’ve got a feeling that Aljamain (Sterling) is more likely to back out of this fight. So, that being said, why don’t you give me Merab?”

Catching wind of Cejudo’s calls, the current #1 ranked bantamweight contender, Sean O’Malley offered to serve as an official backup fighter at UFC 288, however, the former urged him to take a back seat for the time being.

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“I’ll be ready, bud,” Sean O’Malley replied to Henry Cejudo. 

“Trust me, you won’t be ready!” Henry Cejudo wrote. “Take your time get your nails done and your hair did. And watch me work.”

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.