Aljamain Sterling thinks an immediate rematch with Petr Yan is not a good look. The UFC Bantamweight champion opened up during a recent UFC presser, sharing his thoughts on the penalties (or lack thereof) that Yan faced after an illegal knee to the head ended their much-anticipated title fight at UFC 259. (H/T MMA Junkie)
“Any other sport when you do something intentionally illegal, you get suspended, you get fined, you get ejected from the game.”
Aljamain has faced a storm of criticism from Yan, other fighters, and fans alike. The first fighter in the promotion’s history to win a title due to a disqualification, Sterling has been called an ‘actor’ for how he responded to the fight-ending foul. While some have come to his defense, Sterling remains the heel to most.
Aljamain Sterling’s recent comments are in stark contrast to his position on a rematch following UFC 259. He originally said that he felt a rematch with Yan was the fight to make in the aftermath of his title win. Yet, it seems as time has passed Sterling now believes that a rematch will be in the future but should not be immediate. For his part, Yan has been vocal about the fact that he believes Sterling doesn’t want to fight him again. Since the fight, Yan and Sterling continue to engage in a war of the words on Twitter. It’s possible that this is contributing to Sterling’s shift in opinion.
“This guy is getting rewarded with a rematch, which I get is a big fight. But, it is like, we can just break the rules and nothing is ever going to happen to us. So I can just jump the octagon and nothing is ever going to happen to me. I can just go and fight another corner or push him after the bell and nothing is ever going to happen. It’s like, I feel like when you have rules for a reason. You kinda have to enforce them, or otherwise let’s just run them up. I feel like his ass should have been suspended or something. Pay me some money for an illegal foul that might take years off of my career.”
It will be interesting to see who Sterling does eventually fight in his first title defense. He has stated that he would be OK fighting Henry Cejudo before Yan. Now that Cejudo has returned, the future of the Sterling/Yan rematch may be in the air.
Who do you think Aljamain Sterling should fight in his first title defense?