Aljamain Sterling is already moving on from his proposed clash with former featherweight titleholder Max Holloway.
Following his loss to Sean O’Malley at UFC 292, the ‘Funk Master’ appeared to be all, but ready to move on from the bantamweight division. Featherweight looks to be in his future and Sterling was hoping that a clash with Holloway would serve as his divisional debut.
Unfortunately, that no longer appears to be the case as Sterling is shifting his focus from ‘Blessed’ to another perennial contender at 145, Calvin Kattar.
“I think I got a little bit of clarity today,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “I spoke with my manager, my fiance, and we kind of went over some things and scenarios. One of the things we realized is maybe the Max fight isn’t gonna come to fruition.
“At this point, I just think he has bigger opportunities in the sense of whether or not he’s going up a weight class or the opportunity of if he were to wait to see what happens between [Ilia] Topuria and ‘Volk’ [Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 in February 2024]. It can completely open up a brand new door for him to go back to sitting on the throne.“
“So, I guess you kinda gotta play chess at this point in both of our careers, and I would just imagine this fight doesn’t make a ton of sense to him right now,” he continued. “But whoever I do fight next in the 145-pound division, it might be Calvin Kattar. If you guys want to get a message out for me, respectfully.”
“I don’t know, Calvin, we could do this, see when your knee is ready to go, and much respect to you guys and your team. I think March or April would be cool. UFC 300 or maybe we could jump on that Miami card in March” (h/t MMA Mania).
Kattar has been out of action since suffering a torn ACL against Arnold Allen at UFC Vegas 63 in October 2022. The Boston Finisher’ has dropped three of his last four inside the Octagon, including losses to Max Holloway, Josh Emmett, and the aforementioned Allen.
Even so, Kattar holds the No. 7 spot in the featherweight rankings, making him a prime target for Aljamain Sterling to quickly climb into the top ten of his new weight class.