Former UFC title challenger turned analyst Chael Sonnen has boldly proclaimed that Aljamain Sterling purposefully took off rounds four and five of his fight with Petr Yan.
At UFC 273, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling took on former foe Petr Yan in the co-main event of the evening. Sterling picked up a competitive split decision win, having dominated rounds 2 and 3, whilst Yan comfortably took the final two rounds.
However, speaking on his YouTube channel, Chael Sonnen has stated that he believes Sterling could have taken all five rounds had he wished to.
“I’m not certain that anything is going to be harder than he just did, and I’m not sure he was at his best,” said Sonnen. “I’m really not. I think you’d have a tough time convincing me that Sterling was at his best when we all agree he gave two rounds away, of a five-round fight. If he wanted to win all five, it looked like he could’ve. That’s kind of what it looked like, as a matter of fact.”
Sonnen went on to state that “Yan even did everything right. Yan was fast, he was hungry, Yan gave up on absolutely zero positions. He changed strategy from round one to round four, he made adjustments. Sterling was just that damn good.” (Transcribed via BJPenn).
What Is Next For Aljamain Sterling?
Whilst there are some who have called for an immediate trilogy bout between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan, it seems much more likely that former 135lb champ TJ Dillashaw will be next in line for the title shot.
Sterling immediately called Dillashaw out in his post-fight interview, which prompted the following response:
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen? Could you see Dillashaw reclaiming his former title?