For a while, it seemed quite a contentious issue at bantamweight. Whom come possibly face Petr Yan in the Russian’s first attempted title defence of the 135-pound gold. Aljamain ‘Funk Master’ Sterling has won five straight – stopping Cory Sandhagen just over a minute into their UFC 250 meeting in June. That title matchup seems to book itself.
Finally, according to UFC president, Dana White, at UFC Vegas 7’s post-fight press conference – Sterling is more than likely the next challenger in line for Yan.
27-year-old boxing ace, Yan – claimed the previously vacant bantamweight title, stopping challenger and former featherweight best, José Aldo in the final round of their UFC 250 co-main event on ‘Fight Island’ in July.
The victory marked a seventh successive victory for Yan, since his promotional bow just two years ago. In other notable wins, Yan managed to take a unanimous judging win over Jimmie Rivera, and two-time flyweight title challenger, John Dodson. Earning his status as vacant title challenger, Yan finished former WEC featherweight best, Urijah Faber with a third-round head kick knockout at UFC 245 last December.
Prior to his rear-naked choke win over the aforenoted, Sandhagen – Sterling had notched a unanimous decision victory over one-half of tonight’s headliner, Pedro Munhoz at UFC 238 last June. Like Yan, Sterling has also managed a unanimous judging triumph over Tiger Schulmann trainee, Rivera – as part of his five-fight rise.
The news of this potential bantamweight grudge match between the two, follows a recent war of words, with Sterling labelling Yan a, “paper champion” – following the latter’s claiming of the bantamweight throne.
Serra-Longo Fight Team staple, Sterling currently occupies the #2 rank at 135-pounds, behind former WSOF champion, Marlon Moraes. The two clashed at a UFC Fight Nigth Fresno event in December 2017 – with the Brazilian handing Sterling his most recent loss in a shocking first-round head kick knockout.