UFC bantamweight title challenger Aljamain Sterling has questioned the reasons behind Petr Yan pulling out of their first scheduled fight.
Sterling and Yan are set to lock horns this Saturday night at UFC 259, with the winner collecting the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Yet while most fans focus on what’s going to happen in the bout, Sterling is busy spilling the tea over what he thinks went down prior to the first time this fight was booked. Yan and Sterling had previously been set to clash at UFC 256 back in December, but the contest was pushed back, citing Yan's personal reasons.
Aljamain Sterling makes his voice heard
At the time it felt like it was legitimate, with Aljamain even wishing him well. Now, though, the “Funk Master” has unveiled a different thought process during a pre-fight interview with MMA Fighting.
“I think he just needed more time to prepare. He might have been a little worried about something. From what I’m understanding these “personal issues” he pulled out for aren’t the case, and it’s more like lack of confidence going into that fight with his training.”
It’s not exactly a secret that these two men don’t like each other and we can’t imagine they’re going to be the best of friends in the aftermath of whatever happens this weekend in Las Vegas. Still, even with that being the case, it’s interesting to note that this is how Sterling feels about the situation.
None of it’s going to matter when the dust settles after UFC 259 - but maybe that’s the point. Both individuals have had longer to rest, recuperate and prepare for the fight, and we’re expecting to see the very best versions of both fighters inside the octagon at the UFC Apex.
Yan has only been UFC Bantamweight Champion since July 2020 when he demolished Jose Aldo at UFC 251. It followed a 6-0 start to his UFC career, with many fans and pundits tipping him for glory from the day he stepped foot in the promotion.
Sterling’s rise has been a little bit more complicated with a few notable losses on his record. However, he’s been able to overcome all of that, even stringing together a five-fight win streak of his own that concluded with a stunning submission win over Cory Sandhagen in June 2020.
The stakes have never been higher and the MMA world can’t wait to see what these athletes produce when the cage door is locked.