Report: Aljamain Sterling Suggests UFC 256 Matchup With Petr Yan

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC & Zuffa LLC

With the recent fallout of an expected welterweight title clash between incumbent champion, Kamaru Usman and challenger, Gilbert Burns at UFC 256 – perennial bantamweight contender, Aljamain Sterling has suggested a 135-pound title meeting between himself and recent title victor, Petr Yan for the December 12 event.

Sterling, who is the consensus next contender for undisputed bantamweight gold – has won four straight, most recently scoring a stunning first-round rear-naked choke victory over fellow contender, Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 in June. For promotional-perfect, Yan, the Russian scored the vacant bantamweight crown at UFC 251 – taking a fifth-round knockout win over former featherweight best, José Aldo.

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While the promotion scramble in search of a new replacement following the removal of Usman vs. Burns – reports from ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani detailed how the organization had floated the possibility of a heavyweight title rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou, as well as a welterweight grudge match between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.

Taking to his official Twitter account last night, Serra-Longo mainstay, Sterling sent out feelers in regards to a potential pairing with Yan – in what would serve as his first title challenge in his sixth-year stint with the UFC.

I’m free that day. @PetrYanUFC what do you have planned? @danawhite @seanshelby @Mickmaynard2″

In response, talented striker Yan claimed that the promotion had different plans in regards to his first title defence, claiming the hold-up on a pairing wasn’t down to him or his team. 

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I heard UFC have different plans, hold up is not from my side. You should be worried @funkmasterMMA

Drawing a response from Sterling – the New York-based finish urged Yan to practice his wrestling ahead of a potential tie.

The only person I see worried is the guy hiding in Dagestan. Go wrestle at your fu*king gym!

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With Sterling shooting his proverbial shot at the incumbent champion, one-time title challenger and former WSOF best, ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes tackles the above mentioned, Sandhagen in the main event of UFC Fight Island 5 this weekend in Abu Dhabi, UAE. With the promotion originally targeting a matchup of Moraes and Yan for a wouldbe debut outing in Kazakhstan earlier this year – that pairing was shelved amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While UFC president, Dana White remained hesitant to cement Sterling’s status as the next contender for the bantamweight throne, he would claim however,  the grappling ace is likely next in line for Yan.  

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.