It was quite a disappointment for Aljamain Sterling when bantamweight champ Petr Yan revealed that he was withdrawing from their fight at UFC 256. Now the Funkmaster has declared himself the uncrowned king of the division.
When it was finally revealed that Yan and Sterling would be fighting, it seemed like an overdue booking. Aljo had been on a tear in the division, and was coming off a swift submission over top contender Cory Sandhagen. Yet it took a while for the UFC to book the fight, finally putting it together for UFC 256 in December.
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Unfortunately with just a few short weeks until the fight, Petr Yan pulled out of the bout with Aljamain Sterling. As he explained in a recent interview, the bantamweight contender was told that Yan was injured, forcing the fight to be canceled. However Petr then came out to explain that he was having issues securing a visa, so now Aljo is not sure what to think.
“They said injuries,” Sterling explained. “That’s what I was told. I was told injuries but I saw an interview this morning that Petr Yan did and the translation said there were some visa issues, they were booking fights and everything, and there were some troubles. He said ‘My team and I decided it was best to push the fight back to 2021,’ and I’m like it must be nice to be the champ and be able to just push a title fight like that.”
King Aljamain Sterling
Heading into this title fight, Aljamain Sterling is riding a five-fight winning streak against some of the top ranked fighters in the division. On the other hand, Petr Yan won the title off of back-to-back fights against questionably ranked opponents in a recently unretired Urijah Faber, and a post-prime and depleted Jose Aldo. This contrast has Aljo feeling like he is already the champ in the division, especially with Yan withdrawing.
“I don’t want an interim fight,” Sterling said. “I want to fight the champ so we can get some clarity in this division and figure out who the hell is the best guy in this division once and for all, and then we can finally keep things moving. I think he had an easy path to the title. He did his job; the UFC put guys in front of him and he knocked them down. I did the same thing but I think I fought stiffer competition. So I think I’m the uncrowned king and I just wanted my opportunity to prove it. That’s really it.”
Hopefully whatever is stopping Petr Yan from fighting Aljamain Sterling will be cleared up soon. The bantamweight division has been a bit of a mess for a while, and this bout will go a long way towards clearing things up.