Aljamain Sterling has detailed his struggles with neck injuries over the years.
UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling returned to action against Petr Yan at UFC 273 two months ago. Sterling had been sidelined after his outing with Yan about 13 months prior to their second encounter in the cage. Following the bout, ‘Funkmaster’ needed surgery for his neck and spent the following year in recovery.
Aljamain Sterling talks about overcoming neck injuries
Sterling had received a lot of criticism from fellow fighters and fans alike. Despite being the title holder, he was not considered a true champion because of the way he won the fight. Aljo proved the doubters wrong by coming out on top against Yan in their rematch to unify the titles.
In a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Aljamain Sterling went into detail about his neck issues.
“Just to give a kind of a storyline, college wrestling freshman year, me and this guy talking sh*t to each other. We call each other out, he’s up a weight class for me but last year he wrestled the same weight class as me. I’m very competitive, that kid was competitive, we’re both from New York.
“We go out there, he slams me, spikes me on my head, his name is Dave, spiked me on my head, I had stingers so anytime I would turn my head I would find like a radiating pain from the crown of my head all the way down to like somewhere around that C, C disc, right around that area”
Sterling’s neck issues got worse
Sterling expanded on how his neck issues got worse over time from the continuous wear and tear.
“Each year it got progressively worse, like that got better but each year after that, wrestling, pulling on the head, we’d do hand fighting drills where we’d put our hands behind our back and you gotta keep your head up in a wrestling position and someone your partner’s pulling on your neck and yanking it, yanking it so that didn’t help. Jiu-jitsu didn’t help, all these other things. So over the years, it got progressively worse.”
‘Funkmaster’ revealed that he would get MRIs after each bout to determine if he needed to get it fixed.
“I have MRIs dating back from, I think 2014 when I had my UFC debut and every time it was about my neck. Almost every single fight I had an MRI about my neck because I kept thinking ‘okay this is the time I might have to get it fixed.'”
Sterling appears to have recovered from his neck injury but needs to proceed with caution to remain in top shape. Aljo hinted at a potential move up to featherweight to allow his friend Merab Dvalishvili to get a title shot.