Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday, though no contracts have been issued or signed at this stage. The fight is targeted for UFC 287, but Sterling has said he’s still dealing with a torn bicep that requires additional recovery time and rehabilitation before he can return to action.
Assuming Sterling gets cleared and he’s healthy enough to compete, he’s currently expected to defend his title against Cejudo in April.
The UFC has been working on the bantamweight title fight for some time after both fighters confirmed the matchup was expected to take place in 2023. Rumors swirled that the fight might happen in March, but Sterling later revealed his injury, which forced any potential matchup to get pushed back.
Meanwhile, Cejudo makes his first appearance in the UFC since 2020, when he abruptly retired and relinquished the bantamweight title following a win over Dominick Cruz. Cejudo had previously reigned as a two-division UFC champion while holding both the bantamweight and flyweight titles.
Now, the Olympic gold medalist in wrestling seeks to reclaim the title with the fight against Sterling.
As of now, UFC 287 does not have a location, so it remains to be seen where the event will take place, though several bouts have already been confirmed for the card.
Mike Heck contributed to this report