Top UFC bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling is all set to fight for the UFC bantamweight title against current champion Petr Yan in the main card of UFC 259.
The fight card is taking place at the UFC’s Apex Facility in Las Vegas. It’s an absolutely stacked fight card and one that will have a lot of eyeballs from the fans and media alike. A win over Petr Yan could catapult Aljamain’s popularity amongst the casual UFC fanbase.
Aljamain Sterling is coming off of a spectacular first-round rear-naked choke submission win over a top contender in Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 last June. Prior to that, he defeated Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision at UFC 238.
Aljamain Sterling is currently on a five-fight winning streak. On the other hand, Petr Yan is coming off of a fifth-round TKO victory over former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 251 last July. Prior to that, he knocked out Uriah Faber at UFC 245.
Aljamain Sterling will test Petr Yan’s ground grappling
The MMA India Show had the opportunity to get an exclusive interview with Aljamain Sterling, where he discussed his upcoming fight with Petr Yan and what it would mean going forward for the bantamweight division if he wins the UFC title.
1) You have been waiting for the title shot patiently, how are you feeling heading into this fight?
For this fight, I’m definitely nervous – I get nervous for every fight, though. The only time I didn’t get nervous – which was very, very weird – was the Marlon Moraes fight. I learned that those nerves are your safety net in terms of helping you react the way that you should in a fight or flight situation like a high-level fistfight. I’m anxious. I’m nervous. I’m concerned. I’m hopeful.
I’m confident. I just can’t wait to see what’s going to actually happen. And that’s kind of where my mindset is at. I think I’ve done all the right things, I left no stone unturned. And I think good things are going to happen. But obviously, it’s a fight, anything can happen – that’s what makes it scary and that’s what makes it fun. So I’m going to be excited for a couple more days and then we can get out there and get after it under those bright lights.
2) Even if Petr Yan is a tested champion, he still defeated a version of Jose Aldo that wasn’t close to anywhere near his prime. How do you see this fight going? Is there a prediction that you want to give?
Petr Yan is a very tough dude, he’s durable, he’s a gamer. I’m just as tough, just as durable guy, just as much cardio as he has. We will say we don’t know much about his grappling. I think that’s where I can exploit him the most. I could strike with him but why play that game when I don’t have to? I’ve got the reach advantage. This is just a game of inches, and at this highest level, whoever makes the first mistake is going to be the one who ends up laying on their back. I just have to make sure I take my time and find my openings.
3) Your win over Cory Sandhagen is looking better with every fight that he wins in a devastating fashion. He recently said that he wants to fight the winner of you vs Yan, do you think he has earned that right yet?
I’m going to win this belt, and I’m going to fight the next contender, it’s as simple as that. We should “make rankings great again” and make them stand for something.
Who do you guys think wins in a fight between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan? Let us know in the comment section below.
Watch UFC 259 – Blachowicz Vs Adesanya on March 7, 2021, LIVE on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 3 channels from 8:30 AM IST