UFC champions should be amongst the most highly respected fighters on the planet. Somehow, current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling seems to be the exception to that rule.
Quite why Aljamain Sterling doesn’t get the respect he deserves from UFC fans is a bit of a mystery. Sure, he won his title in controversial fashion, but that wasn’t the fault of ‘Funk Master’, it was simply a bad set of circumstances.
With that in mind, here are five reasons why Aljamain Sterling deserves more respect from UFC fans.
#5. Aljamain Sterling is hardly the first UFC champion to suffer from injury problems
It seems like the main reason that UFC fans are currently disrespecting Aljamain Sterling is due to the persistent injury problems he’s suffered with since winning the UFC bantamweight title.
Sterling famously won his title from Petr Yan at UFC 259 in March. The victory was a controversial one as it came via disqualification after Yan struck him with an illegal knee while he was downed. Since then, Sterling has been on the shelf. He has spent a lengthy time recovering from what sounds like a serious neck injury.
The UFC intended for him to return at UFC 267. However, ‘Funk Master’ was forced out due to lingering issues following his neck surgery. That resulted in the promotion booking an interim title bout between Yan and Cory Sandhagen.
However, simply suffering from an injury issue shouldn’t mean that Aljamain Sterling should be served disrespect from the fans. After all, the 32-year-old is hardly the first UFC champion to have injury problems.
Former champs like Dominick Cruz, Cain Velasquez and Robert Whittaker spent lengthy periods on the shelf with injuries and interim champions were often crowned in their stead. None of them received the same disrespect as Sterling has.
Simply put, just because he’s suffered from a serious injury shouldn’t mean that Aljamain Sterling deserves disrespect. If anything, the fact that he attempted to train through a neck injury should mean he gets more respect from fans, not less.