In the eyes of everyone except Dana White, Aljamain Sterling seems to be the clear-cut #1 contender who should be facing Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan in his first title defense. Aljamain Sterling has been on a roll, winning his last five fights.
Dana White, when asked about Aljamain Sterling and a possible title shot, simply responded by saying "he's up there". However, a dominant first-round submission over rising contender Cory Sandhagen should have been enough to secure him a title shot.
There's still hope for him, however, as Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan stated his desire to face Aljamain Sterling first.
In an interview with The Schmo (H/T MMA Fighting), Aljamain Sterling said that he wasn't sure what Dana White is waiting for with regards to a Bantamweight title shot:
“Honestly, I don’t know what Dana’s waiting for,” Sterling said. “I don’t know if I p****d in his Cheerios or something, talked to his ex-girlfriend, I have no idea. But, Dana knows the fight to make and I think he’s gonna do the right thing. I think he had to just get over the jet lag from Abu Dhabi. Maybe he forgot how great the performance was and how quick it was, so it’s hard to remember, but I’ve got the camera, I’ve got the film, and he said I was the next guy.”
Aljamain Sterling believes that Champion Petr Yan is smart and honorable enough to want to defend his title against legitimate contenders:
“Yan’s a pretty smart guy,” Sterling said. “He’s intelligent and I think he’s honorable in terms of the fight game and fighting No. 1 contenders and not looking for these clown fights. I think that’s what builds your legacy, not jumping around and trying to fight the guy who is not even ranked or not on a win streak. I want to fight the best guys, he wants to fight the best guys, and obviously you see the banter we have going back and forth for almost a year now. I’m still coming for that a**, Pete.”
Is Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling going to happen?
As of now, there seems to be no other logical contender for the title apart from Aljamain Sterling. While Marlon Moraes won his last fight against Jose Aldo, he's reportedly scheduled to face Cory Sandhagen around October in what could be another title eliminator.
However, it all depends on Petr Yan and when he's ready to fight again. His fight against Jose Aldo went all the way until the fifth round while Aljamain Sterling took only about a minute-and-a-half to defeat Cory Sandhagen.Published 14 Aug 2020, 11:42 IST