Coach: Aljamain Sterling Shouldn’t Sign Another Fight Unless It’s For The Title

Aljamain Sterling

Longo: ‘No Question’ Sterling Has Earned Title Shot

For Ray Longo, it’s title shot or bust for Aljamain Sterling.

Sterling earned his fifth win in a row following his impressive first-round submission victory over Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 earlier this month.

In the process, “Funk Master” cemented himself as the next in line for a title shot with UFC president Dana White agreeing as much after the event. However, nothing is certain in this sport.

After all, not many would have expected Petr Yan to fighting Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title at UFC 251 next month. Some may even argue that it should be Sterling facing Yan instead of Aldo.

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Sterling’s head coach Longo believes the fight with Sandhagen could have even been a title fight in itself as he believes his pupil should not be fighting for anything less than a belt in his next outing.

“Over here we thought he deserved … this could have been a title fight,” Longo told MMA Junkie. “You had two really good guys on great winning streaks. Look, technically Aljo might be the uncrowned champ right now. Who the heck knows? But we always believed that he should have been fighting for a title, and if this is what he had to do to get there, to have that one more fight against a guy that’s right up there with him in the division, and that’s what he did.

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“He couldn’t have had a better outcome, and now there’s absolutely no question he earned a title shot. … I wouldn’t sign a contract unless it’s for a title. I mean, he earned it. He deserves it, he works hard, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Sterling — who considers himself the best 135-pounder in the world — is certainly targeting the winner of that fight. In a recent interview, he stated how nobody could truly be considered the bantamweight champion until they took him out.

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“Petr Yan may fight Jose Aldo and he may win the belt or Jose Aldo may win the belt but people are going to always look and see ‘you’ve got to beat this guy first’ and it gives me comfort knowing that people are behind me and realizing that my skills are dangerous and I’m a real threat to this division,” Sterling said. “In order to be considered the best, you have to take me out.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

Do you think Sterling is guaranteed the next title shot?

Experienced freelance sports writer covering mixed martial arts (MMA) extensively for the last few years. Likes a good body shot.