The reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling often responds to the haters on social media. Sterling often responds to his biggest critics as much as he does his most ardent supporters.
Aljamain Sterling opens up on the matter
The No. 1 bantamweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings makes a point to never shy away from replying to a comment, especially when it’s somebody coming at him with a ridiculous take about a particular fight or moment in his career.
“I don’t care what people say, but I care to defend my freedom and ability to tell them that they’re wrong,” Aljamain Sterling told MMA Fighting. “So the fact that you’re able to tell me this, and I have the freedom and the luxury to do that, I go out of my way to entertain these guys when I could just leave it alone and ghost it. That’s really how it is.”
Social media tends to lean further into negative commentary than positive affirmation and many high-profile fighters are constantly flooded with loathing messages.
Even knowing that, Sterling still seems to deal with an inordinate amount of criticism or insults being lobbed his way. He really believes that boils down to the considerable reaction he earned after becoming UFC bantamweight champion; he defeated Petr Yan by disqualification at UFC 259 in March 2021 to claim the title, the first time a title had changed hands by DQ in UFC history. Then he defeated Yan by split decision in a rematch at UFC 273.
Sterling isn’t obligated to respond to anyone. He could just as easily ignore the messages sent his way. But he actually has fun with it:
“Maybe I should stop responding to these guys and just go dark. What fun would that be though?” Sterling said. “I enjoy the banter going back and forth. As long as I’m not getting emotionally riled up where I’m losing sleep at night and it’s harming my performance and training, it’s not doing anybody any harm.”
“So it’s like enjoy it. Why do people get so butthurt that I respond? It’s like damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”