UFC 259 lived up to its prefight hype in many ways, producing an array of spectacular fights and finishes. However, the biggest story circling MMA media post-UFC 259 was the controversy surrounding Petr Yan’s disqualification.
Yan threw an illegal knee to a grounded Aljamain Sterling. Sterling was unable to continue, which led to Yan’s subsequent disqualification. By default, Sterling was awarded the 135lb belt. However, in the aftermath of the fight, many fans and fighters alike have criticised Sterling for over-dramatising his reaction in order to get Yan disqualified.
Sterling Reacts To Post UFC 259 Criticism
In a recent interview with ESPN MMA‘s Brett Okamoto, Sterling addressed the heavy criticism he has since received. The ‘Funkmaster’ had the following to say:
“It’s bizzare. The people that are upset about it are acting if I did something wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. And then, if I say that then it’s well, you shouldn’t be celebrating. Well I’m like, I’m not celebrating. My friends are celebrating that their here with me right now. And they want me to enjoy the moment. I’m sorry if that offends people. I don’t want to celebrate it, in terms of holding the belt and doing all of this stuff. I’m not doing that.”
In terms of his own mentality, in regards to winning the belt in such a way, Sterling holds no delusions. He states that he is aware that he still needs to prove himself in the eyes of many, and that is exactly what he is willing to do. He had the following to say:
“I still feel like I need to get back in there and do things over. To really figure things out. That’s where I’m at right now…. I technically made history on someones mistake, disqualification. Rules are there for a reason. I’m not saying I should have won the belt from a disqualification. But I don’t think he should be able to keep it either. How do you become a world champion and not know the rules.”
Sterling and Yan will likely run it back to decide who the true champion is, once and for all. However, Sterling has stated that he is not against a new opponent should the UFC book one. Henry Cejudo’s name is one that has been floating about as of late. A fight against Triple C would likely result in more exposure and a higher payday for the Funkmaster.
— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) March 8, 2021