Undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling has urged haters and doubters of his to fill out an “apology form”, for siding against him and doubting his ability ahead of his UFC 273 rematch victory over interim champion, Petr Yan.

Co-headlining UFC 273 on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida – Aljamain Sterling managed to land a close, split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) win against interim champion, Yan – successfully unified the bantamweight titles and put an end to the pair’s rivalry stemming from March last year. 

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Uniondale native, Sterling featured as the first of three title clashes at UFC 258 back in March of last year against then-champion, Yan – becoming the first champion in promotional antiquity to clinch a title off the back of a disqualification after the Dudinka native landed a fourth round illegal knee.

In the time since and prior to Sterling’s title unification victory against Yan on Saturday, many within the community had questioned the legitimacy of the champion’s title ascension, as well as pointing to an apparent gulf in clash and ability of the two, given the rather one-sided nature of their first matchup.

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Aljamain Sterling landed his seventh straight win on Saturday against Petr Yan

Taking umbrage with those suggestions as well as celebrating his title unification win – Sterling, a staple of Serra-Longo MMA, urged haters and doubters to fill out an “apology form”. 

Amongst the list of boxes to be ticked by an apologist, Sterling listed the following terms. “The media convinced me he was done.” “I didn’t watch the actual fights.” “I only looked at advanced analytics.” “I don’t know MMA.” “I was jealous of Aljamain Sterling.” “Mercury was in retrograde.” “I will hereby respect Aljamain Sterling and I will NOT talk down on the future first-ballot UFC Hall of Famer.”

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Following his triumph over Yan in the pair’s rematch, Sterling called for a next title defense against former two-time division champion, T.J. Dillashaw – who was in attendance at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.