Aljamain Sterling does not care if current UFC Bantamweight Champion, Petr Yan, wants to fight TJ Dillashaw next, as he believes the Russian won't be the division's titleholder any longer after they clash at UFC 259 this weekend.
In addition to the Bantamweight title fight, the UFC event on March 4 will have two other Championship bouts on the card. Israel Adesanya will try to capture a second belt as he faces Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz, while Amanda Nunes will defend her Women's Featherweight Title against Megan Anderson.
Speaking to RT Sport, Aljamain Sterling gave his honest opinion on TJ Dillashaw's return to UFC and what he thinks of Yan's call-out to the former Bantamweight champion who was serving a two-year drug suspension.
"I think Petr Yan is counting his chickens before they hatch. And I think TJ definitely needs to prove himself. He's been on stuff for years. Years. And it was about time that he finally got caught. He is a tough dude. People know him as, I guess, one of the faces of the division because of all the stuff he has done in terms of his accolades, but to me, those are tainted, you know. So, there's not much to be said about it, you know," Aljamain Sterling said.
"So, I'm not really concerned about him. I think it's a fun fight. Him coming back in the mix. It's a big name. I think Petr Yan is probably just looking at the money factor in terms of if he gets pay-per-view points. And I think that's just what he's counting on. But he won't have that belt for much longer anyway, so it doesn't matter," Aljamain Sterling declared.
Yan became the UFC Bantamweight Champion after capturing the vacant belt in a fight against former Featherweight titleholder, Jose Aldo. The fight with Aljamain Sterling will be his first Championship defense.
Whom does Aljamain Sterling believe TJ Dillashaw should fight next?
For Aljamain Sterling, UFC should book TJ Dillashaw to fight No. 2 in the Bantamweight rankings, Cory Sandhagen. "The Funk Master" has defeated Sandhagen in his last bout at UFC 250.
"I think he needs to earn his keep. I think, personally for me, he should be fighting [Cory] Sandhagen next. I know that they used to train together. So, he left that gym for a reason. I think he might have seen something in Sandhagen that he didn't like, that they might potentially have to fight. Because TJ [Dillashaw] is that type of guy, you know. He will fight his teammates, you know, he is a lot different than I am and the way that we are over here," Aljamain Sterling said.
Sterling heads into his title fight against Yan on the back of a five-fight winning streak and will be looking to dethrone the Russian as the Bantamweight Champion at UFC 259.