Former UFC Bantamweight champion Petr Yan has responded to the statements of the current champion Aljamain Sterling who doesn’t think Yan deserves an immediate title shot.
Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan’s rematch for the bantamweight championship is in process, but Sterling feels that Yan is getting the title shot awarded instead of facing suspension for the illegal actions he did in their previous meeting.
Aljamain Sterling said Petr Yan is awarded the title shot
Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) captured the bantamweight title from Yan at UFC 259 after he was struck with an illegal knee which rendered him unable to continue. Though Yan lost his belt as a result of the disqualification, Sterling thinks the repercussions of Yan’s actions should have been even harsher.
“Any other sport when you do something intentionally illegal, you get suspended, you get fined, you get ejected from the game,” Sterling said at a recent media session in Las Vegas. “This guy is getting rewarded with a rematch, which I get is a big fight. But, it is like, we can just break the rules and nothing is ever going to happen to us. So I can just jump the octagon and nothing is ever going to happen to me. I can just go and fight another corner or push him after the bell and nothing is ever going to happen. It’s like, I feel like when you have rules for a reason, you kinda have to enforce them, or otherwise let’s just run them up.”
He continued, “I feel like his ass should have been suspended or something. Pay me some money for an illegal foul that might take years off of my career.”
Much of the controversy surrounding the UFC 259 finish swirled around Yan’s intent and whether his corner may have given him confusing instructions (Yan later insisted that he couldn’t hear his corner at all) during the sequence in which Yan connected with an illegal knee to a grounded Sterling’s head. Referee Mark Smith gave Sterling time to recover, but it was ultimately ruled that Sterling could not continue and Yan lost his UFC championship to Sterling via disqualification.
Now, to no surprise, Petr Yan responded and blasted Sterling for not wanting the rematch and allegedly turning it down multiple times.
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) March 30, 2021
Sterling has been accused of acting following the knee and received criticism for posing with his belt on his teammates’ social media posts. Before the fight ending in Round 4, two judges had Petr up two rounds to one, whereas one judge had Sterling up, but the momentum was unquestionably starting to swing in Yan’s favor.
But the newly crowned champion says he is no longer affected by the negativity and has now started embracing his role as champion. Sterling is currently serving a medical suspension and hopes that he can get his lingering neck issue cleared before gearing up for the rematch sometime this year.
In the lead-up to UFC 259, Petr Yan and Sterling had an intense back-and-forth and trash-talked one another. After what happened during the fight and since then, the rematch will no doubt be filled with a ton of trash-talking which will only add some hype to the rematch whenever that may be.
Purchase the UFC merch here.
To bet on an MMA event click here