UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling has claimed his long-awaited title unification rematch with interim gold holder, Petr Yan is most likely to now take place in April at UFC 273, despite initial plans to pit the two together a month earlier at UFC 272 on March 5.
Sterling, who clinched the undisputed bantamweight championship back in March courtesy of a fourth round disqualification win over Yan, has been sidelined ever since as he failed to obtain medical clearance to return following invasive neck surgery to address a longstanding issue.
Aljamain Sterling is currently in the midst of a six-fight winning run, including his DQ win over Petr Yan
The Uniondale native was originally expected to co-headline UFC 267 back in October on ‘Fight Island’ in a rematch against Yan, however, his failure to obtain medical clearance resulted in the shelving of the bout, as well as the introduction of an interim title at bantamweight.
Remaining on the Abu Dhabi, UAE card – Dudinka native, Yan managed to scoop the interim crown with unanimous decision win over common-opponent, Cory Sandhagen, who replaced Sterling on short notice.
Last week, reports emerged detailing how the promotion was targeting the title rematch between Sterling and Yan for UFC 272 on March 5. at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, however, contracts had yet to be signed for the bout.
Ultimately, a targeted main event between featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and Max Holloway fell to the wayside as the latter aggravated a prior injury, resulting in the scuppering of that title fight as well.
With Volkanovski now expected to draw the #4 ranked contender, Chan Sung Jung in a reworked title fight at UFC 273, Sterling has suggested on his official Twitter that his re-run with Yan will follow suit and land at UFC 273 in April as well.
“Apparently it (the rematch) isn’t until April now (UFC 273),” Aljamain Sterling tweeted. “The potato (Petr Yan) can’t duck me forever!”
An April return for Aljamain Sterling would mark a year of inactivity following his much-debated disqualification win over Yan, with the New York native becoming the first champion in the promotion’s history to win a title via that method.
Sterling then accused Yan of withdrawing from their upcoming fight, calling them now level on fight withdrawals between them.
“I guess Cheotr (Petr Yan) and I, are even now in pulling out of fights for serious injuries,” Aljamain Sterling tweeted. “Oh wait… “personal reasons” isn’t an injury (laughing face emoji). I’m coming for your boy! Trust me!