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"I just don't feel like I get the push like maybe some others do" - Aljamain Sterling talks feeling like "the red-headed step-child" in dealing with the promotion

Aljamain Sterling with Joe Rogan after defending his bantamweight championship at UFC 273
Aljamain Sterling with Joe Rogan after defending his bantamweight championship at UFC 273

Aljamain Sterling is currently the UFC bantamweight champion. Despite having just one title defense to his name, he has held his belt for longer than every current men's champion except Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski.

Sterling recently revealed that, although he is a champion, he feels undervalued and underpromoted by the UFC. Speaking with Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour, Sterling was asked about being "punished" by the UFC and responded by stating (starting at the 1:41:20 mark):

"Sometimes, I feel like, I guess, what, for lack of better terms, the cliche, the red-headed, what is it? The red-headed step-child." [sic]

Sterling was then asked if he felt underappreciated by the UFC, and he said (starting at 1:41:35):

"Sometimes. Sometimes, I do. Well, you know, it's not with everybody in the UFC. It's, um, certain people that probably matter the most. So, I guess it's not always the best feeling to be on that side, but I mean, I still, I roll with the punches. I'm going to do me no matter what, but I just don't feel like, um, I get the push like maybe some others do, or maybe I'm just in my own head." [sic]

Aljamain Sterling was recently set to headline UFC 279 against TJ Dillashaw, but their bout was replaced by a non-title fight between Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev.

A bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw is being targeted for UFC 279 on Sept. 10, sources confirmed with @marcraimondi.First reported by MMA Junkie, and location is to be determined. https://t.co/HBNACRzwD3

Instead, Aljamain Sterling's fight with T.J. Dillashaw was moved to the co-main event of UFC 280, something he felt was a punishment.

Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw moves from UFC 279 to UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi πŸ”₯ #UFC280bjpenn.com/mma-news/ufc/a…

Watch Aljamain Sterling's comments on The MMA Hour below:

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Does the UFC treat Aljamain Sterling unfairly?

Aljamain Sterling may be on to something when he says that he isn't properly promoted by the UFC. He is the only current men's champion who hasn't headlined a pay-per-view card. In fact, Sterling hasn't headlined any main events since signing with the promotion.

Financially, the decision to allow Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev to headline UFC 279 makes a lot of sense for the UFC. However, with no belt on the line, it is understandable why Sterling would feel disrespected being moved from the card.

It didn't help that UFC President Dana White publicly stated that he felt that the judges got it wrong and Sterling lost to Petr Yan at UFC 273. Sterling has been openly critical of White in the past and didn't shy away from calling him out.

It is no secret that White prefers popular fighters. Sterling wasn't much liked after he initially won the belt via Yan's disqualification at UFC 259. After defending his title at UFC 273, many felt he deserved the respect that has been denied him so far.

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Edited by Virat Deswal
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