UFC bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling has said that he is the next challenger for bantamweight champion Petr Yan and wants to fight him at UFC 256.
Aljamain Sterling has cemented himself as the No. 1 contender at bantamweight but is yet to get his title shot. He has won all of his last five fights and is coming off a first-round submission win over Cory Sandhagen in June at UFC 250 but was passed up for a title opportunity when Petr Yan and Jose Aldo were selected to square off for the vacant bantamweight title just a month later at UFC 251. Yan went on to beat Jose Aldo in a very dominant fashion and become the new bantamweight champion of the world.
Yan (15-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) stopped Aldo by TKO to become the new champion, and all signs point to his first title defense being against Sterling. Speaking recently to MMA Junkie Radio, Sterling (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) provided an update on his potential title shot, saying that it’s currently being negotiated.
“I don’t know. I think we’re just figuring out contract negotiations,” Sterling said. “Your boy’s gotta get paid. I gotta get paid. I put in a lot of work.”
“The Funkmaster” does not doubt that he’s the No. 1 contender and is hopeful the fight happens before the end of the year. “I am the next guy in line. I understand what (White is) saying, if you don’t want to fight, COVID, and the whole thing. Don’t fight, you don’t want to risk it, whatever,” Sterling said. “For me, I defeated COVID like 10 times already, so I’m ready to fight. Just getting in shape and hopefully, it’s gonna be in December, first or second week.”
He continued, “It’s the right fight to make, and I think the people want it. There’s a lot of hype behind this one, and I can’t wait to steal that thunder.“I think there’s still a respect factor there,” Sterling said. “I think he knows I’m a dangerous opponent, otherwise he wouldn’t be in Dagestan wrestling right now. … It’s gonna be a very interesting night. I want to see if he can make up for that gap in the wrestling and grappling department in a couple of short months, so I think he’s taking me seriously. I’m taking him seriously, and I can’t wait for the opportunity.”
Sterling VS Yan could be happening at UFC 256
As the news broke out that the official main event for UFC 256 Usman vs Burns is off the card, Sterling showed interest in fighting Yan at that event and wants to headline UFC 256. The event currently only has a women’s featherweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson set for the card. That leaves a big opening in the UFC’s calendar and Sterling was quick to volunteer.
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) October 5, 2020
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) October 6, 2020
The only person I see worried is the guy hiding in Dagestan. Go wrestle at your fucking gym! “😆” https://t.co/ZWsmnxwXaP
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) October 6, 2020
The UFC has been somewhat cagey about Sterling receiving the next title shot, however, in August, UFC President Dana White said that Sterling is next in line for the 135-pound title, which seemed to put the issue to bed. Yan himself has stated that he wants to face Sterling next, so it seems likely that any “other plans” the UFC has would involve a different timeline, not a different opponent for Yan.
There’s no official announcement for the fight but this could be a possible matchup soon if not at UFC 256.
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