No. 8-ranked bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling is looking to close out 2017 with three consecutive wins throughout the year when he meets former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) champion Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Night 123 this Saturday (Dec. 9, 2017) from Fresno, California.
If he comes out on top, Sterling would be one step closer towards earning a 135-pound title shot, but it’s currently unclear when the title will next be defended given the fact that champion TJ Dillashaw is campaigning for a fight against dominant flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. UFC President Dana White also recently said that the fight is taking place, although it hasn’t officially been booked.
Recently speaking on the topic, Sterling explained why he believes Dillashaw shouldn’t be fighting “Mighty Mouse” next:
“I do understand that T.J. is a two-time world champion at this point, but at the same time, you haven’t cleaned out the division yet,” Sterling told MMAjunkie. “‘Mighty Mouse’ has cleaned out his division. He’s done his job in his weight class.
“T.J., stay put, do your job, because I’m coming for the belt. You’ve got all of us hungry young competitors coming up for the belt, and that’s all it’s all about right now. We’re all chasing gold.”
If the fight does take place, Sterling feels as if it would hold up the 135-pound division given the plethora of contenders looking to earn a title shot:
“T.J. has been talking about fighting ‘Mighty Mouse.’ If that happens, that’s going to really hold up the division all over again. There’s a lot of young blood, new faces for T.J. to challenge. He hasn’t yet cleared out this division. I think he should stay put, do his job as a champion and fight the guys who are the true No. 1 contenders at this weight class. You’ve got Jimmie Rivera in the hunt. You’ve got Raphael Assuncao in the hunt, who Marlon and I both lost to via split decision. … You’ve got (John) Lineker if he gets the win over Rivera. … Dominick Cruz’s arm is broken, and Cody just came off a knockout loss to T.J., so it’s really a who’s who. It’s kind of a pick ’em.”
Do you agree with Sterling?