Even after becoming UFC champion, Aljamain Sterling feels he is not being treated with the proper awe. This past weekend (Oct. 22, 2022) at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, The Funk Master successfully defended his Bantamweight championship for the second time against T.J. Dillashaw.
In the first two rounds, Sterling used his superior grappling to take down Dillashaw and then pound him to submission with ground and pound.
During the week of championship bouts, UFC President Dana White singled out the victor of Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley as the next potential challenger. Sterling was confused when White suggested a previous two-division champion, Henry Cejudo, as Sterling’s potential next opponent when the night was over.
Sterling’s Statement on The MMA Hour
Sterling said on The MMA Hour, “I like Dana on a personal level, aside from the cameras and everything, I like Dana.” However, I do not always understand what he is trying to communicate.
You explicitly state that the winner of the O’Malley-Yan bout will unquestionably earn the first opportunity at the vacant title. Everything changed after the fight, and now you have added Henry “Cedorol,” and I have no idea what is going on since he has not fought in over two years.
You do not want to give him a crack at the [Featherweight] belt so that he can go for the hat trick, which is OK with me because I believe he deserves it on merit.
Let it be known that I am not a hater. Then, two years later, after having competed at 125 pounds and twice at 35, he returns for what is an instant championship opportunity.
So now it seems like they are searching for a final chance of someone who can take out Aljamain Sterling, he said, albeit he could be mistaken. They are banking on this story of Olympic wrestling finally coming together.
Although D-1 was not good enough, the Olympic level of wrestling may be sufficient to defeat a D-3 competitor. One thing I can say with certainty, however, is that this arse-whooping is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.
Every one of every hue and ethnicity can have it. It makes no difference. Henry, the Ecuadorian ‘Chito,’ Marlon Vera, the colorfully-haired O’Malley, Mr. Sugar Tits, a rematch with Yan Sandhagen, or any number of other fighters are all viable alternatives. Because we all know the UFC loves to grant championship opportunities to guys coming off of defeats.
About a Fight for the Bantamweight Title
In a close fight for the Bantamweight title, O’Malley beat Yan through a split decision (watch highlights). It was widely recognized that the bout was fantastic and deserving of Fight of the Night status, regardless of who was deemed the victor.
Based on O’Malley’s post-fight statements that he needs to review the bout and that he knew it was extremely tight and tough, Sterling believes that even the challenger was shocked that he came out on top.
The champion, who has faced and beaten Yan twice before facing Dillashaw, claims that O’Malley is familiar with the experience of fighting to a decision versus Yan.
According to Sterling, O’Malley is the most formidable opponent because of his high profile and impressive record.
I believe he has seen my victories against top-five and top-ten opponents in the past, including T.J., Yan, and others.
In my third UFC bout, I faced the world’s No. 6-ranked fighter, and I have not faced an unranked opponent since. That is why I am confident in my application.
He went on to say that the Bantamweight competitors who are catching me had themselves faced opponents with dismal records. None of those things describe me. There are no easy ways out, and those who cannot appreciate that have no place in the sport.
As for the aforementioned Cejudo, he has stated his desire to challenge current Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski for the opportunity to make history.
Unfortunately for him, Islam Makhachev, the current Lightweight champion, will face Volkanovski as his first opponent. Therefore, Cejudo is confused about his future options.
The two had teased the fight before Sterling got the Dillashaw fight, and although Sterling would not mind taking it, he does not think fans would find it to be the most fascinating.
The only people who care about the Henry Cejudo battle are die-hards, Sterling added. O’Malley is the person to approach if you want to discuss monetary values.
Petr Yan is the go-to guy for discussions of historical impact. Sandhagen is a fascinating opponent since I was able to defeat him quickly, yet this may have been due to good fortune on my part.