Jackson Wink MMA has been one of the top gyms in the game for quite some time and almost became the home of Aljamain Sterling until he declined an invitation.
It turns out that Sterling and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones knew each other back in the day. Sterling actually met with Jones during his amateur career as they went to the same school in New York.
Sterling recently revealed that Jones invited him to come train with him at Jackson Wink MMA. However, he declined the invitation:
“Jon Jones actually invited me to come down when I was debating whether or not to go back home to Long Island after school was over and trying to figure out where I want to move,” Sterling told MMA Junkie Radio “I didn’t even know that gym existed – Weidman, Serra-Longo. I didn’t even know that existed because I was all the way upstate and sure enough, I was glad that I made the right choice.”
“It’s crazy. I almost went,” Sterling said. “I told him, ‘Jon, I just don’t feel like I’m going to get the right training. I don’t feel like I’m going to get the attention you get. You’re Jon Jones, I’m the amateur guy that’s only a wrestler, and I get that.’ You got to put in your time, put in your work and earn your spot.”
The rising UFC bantamweight prospect has made a name for himself in the division thanks in large part to training with top fighters. He has learned a ton in Long Island under the guidance of coaches Matt Serra and Ray Longo. The influence from these coaches has helped the careers of former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Al Iaquinta, and Merab Dvalishvili.
In his latest fight, Sterling beat Pedro Munhoz in a bantamweight bout at the UFC 238 pay-per-view (PPV) event from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. As a result of the win, “The Funkmaster” extended his win streak to four-straight inside the Octagon.
Since then, Sterling has made it known that he believes it’s his time to get in the main event spotlight. He wants to do so by challenging UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo for the 135-pound title. Time will tell whether that happens or not.
How do you think Sterling training with Jones at Jackson Wink MMA would’ve impacted his career?