Undefeated (11-0) UFC bantamweight prospect Aljamain Sterling seems to be growing tired of the fight game already. Having beaten Cody Gibson, Hugo Viana and Takeya Mizugaki in his first three UFC appearances, ‘The Funk Master’ has gone without a fight since April 18, but it’s not for a lack of trying to get one booked.
He recently echoed Henry Cejudo‘s Nevada Boycott in relation to Nick Diaz‘s five year ban by the NAC (Nevada Athletic Commission), but even so, you have the number six ranked 135-pounder begging for a fight. Perhaps it’s down to lack of competition in the division, who knows, but Sterling tells MMAFighting.com that he might need to retire and go back to school:
“If they can’t guarantee me something sooner, barring that I don’t get injured, I’m gonna have to go back to school and just do what’s best for me,” Sterling told MMA Fighting. “If that includes taking a layoff, then I guess I’ve gotta take a layoff and actually do something positive with it.”
“These guys need to do right by me,” Sterling said. “I fought a top-10 guy (Mizugaki) as an unranked opponent, came in, finished him in what I think was a spectacular fashion — just the performance overall, shut the guy down. I think it warrants some attention and some notoriety.”
Sterling also reveals that he felt like his lac of a fight night bonus after defeating Mizugaki was an insult, and that the UFC has no faith in him. The Serra-Longo training partner of UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman submitted the WEC veteran with a tight arm triangle choke.
“To me, it was like a slap in the face,” Sterling said. “I feel like my style is not what they think people want to see, which is going out there just swinging for the fences and hoping to get a knockdown. I felt like I did a beautiful display of jiu-jitsu and showed how strategically to break down somebody from the feet, control them and make them look like they never fought before.””
“I thought this was my year,” Sterling said. “I had my goals. I thought I was gonna break $100K in my savings. That was the end goal, the realistic goal. I thought it was very, very tangible.
“The pay is definitely not what it is unless you’re the champ or a guy that’s been around the sport for a very, very, very long time and you can make a lot of money.”
Once again money is the subject of debate, or perhaps the lack there of. Three pro fights for the UFC, admittedly not the longest tally of a UFC fighter, but now he can’t get another scrap or pay his bills? He continues:
“I still think I have a very promising future, but just doing the math on how much I fight, how often I fight per year, there’s no way I’m gonna be able to make a significant amount of money where I can put it aside to do something when I’m done,” Sterling said. … “You kind of see where I’m doing the math that it’s not adding up. I would have made more money taking a full-time teaching job somewhere.”
In closing, here’s a meme that Aljamain Sterling posted to his Instagram account, and it says it all:
Ain’t that some ishh?? Working my butt off every time I go to practice with dreams of winning #UFC gold since I was a college student. Training and studying instead of partying. Not doing drugs and not chasing females around because I had one true goal. A burning desire to finally be the best in the world at something. Came up short for High School wrestling, and college wrestling. Now this “is my shot” is slowly starting to feel like this “was my shot.” I’m a realist and in doing the math, I will not be able to have a financially stable future if things don’t change. I teach my students to focus on what you can control and the only thing in my control right now is furthering my education and hoping I get my big break into MMA. This sport has so many ups and downs, it’s highs and lows, and overall great experiences and perks of being a UFC fighter. With that said, it doesn’t last forever and if you aren’t at the top of the game in your division, count your blessings if you’re able to retire with any money, and with your body and brain intact. Ultimately, this path was my choice and I have no regrets. Just things I’d like to do better and recommend others to do better than I did. At the end of the day. I love this game… #TeamFunk