It’s been over a year since Sterling won the bantamweight UFC championship via disqualification when Petr Yan kneed him down while he was down. The long-awaited and highly anticipated rematch between Petr Yan and Sterling is almost here.
Aljo is no quitter
At this point, every single joke about Sterling faking his injury has been said and posted on social media. On Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour, Sterling said he didn’t quit at UFC 259, in fact, the referee saved him from himself.
“Thankfully, the referee and doctor saved me from myself because had they given me five minutes, I would have continued the fight…they stopped the fight, and thankfully they did,” Sterling said.
“Honestly, being that compromised as I was going into the fight, getting punched in the head repeatedly and then getting illegally kneed in the head with a strike I didn’t see coming. That fight isn’t getting any better for me. People can say whatever they want; I didn’t roll over; I didn’t quit. The referee saved me from myself, and I’m very, very appreciative of that.”
Make it make sense
The bantamweight champion also brought up his biggest issue about the situation, including being able to understand English leading up until the fight but then not understanding when the foul happened.
“Here’s my issue, I’m going to tee it up for the casuals out there,” Sterling said. “There’s rules we get in the back room, there’s rules we know going into this sport, we agree upon them. You’re in the fight; I’m down on my knees, you knee me in the head as I come up – legal.
“Then we get back to that same decision; you wait six seconds, the ref tells you at the beginning of that six seconds that he is a down opponent. You speak English at the press conference; you speak English when we’re face to face now, all of a sudden, you don’t understand that ‘down means he is a down opponent, and you can’t throw knees to the head?’ The guy isn’t looking, and then you throw a knee a second later when you’re winning the fight at that point. Why not let the guy up? That’s all I want people to understand. Why not let that guy up and continue to do the damage and carnage you’ve been doing since you’re so great. Make that make sense.
“The guy was frustrated and thought he was going to get away with one. That’s really what it comes down to…”
Sterling vs. Yan II goes down next Saturday on April 9 in Jacksonville, Florida.