Back in March 2021, Sterling challenged Yan for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Sterling was on his motor early in the fight but Yan was gaining a ton of steam and Sterling was slowing down.
Things took a turn in the fourth round when Yan nailed a downed Sterling with a knee to the face. That is illegal and Yan was disqualified, thus making Sterling the new 135-pound champion.
Robert Whittaker Feels Sterling Went Too Far
Appearing on FOX Sports’ Main Event show in Australia, former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker said he thinks Aljamain Sterling has milked the DQ win long enough.
“He’s taking it too far. The character he’s going with is just too far. Because he can fight, he’s a phenomenal fighter.”
When the host of the show mentioned that it was Yan who hit the illegal knee, Whittaker said it doesn’t give Sterling a pass to lay claim to being the top dog at bantamweight.
“Understandably, but you can’t go around claiming you’re the best in the world either. He didn’t win, Petr lost. Sterling didn’t win, Petr lost. That is how it happened. That is the undeniable truth of the matter. So, you can’t go around saying, ‘I’m the champ & I’m the best in the world,’ because you didn’t win the belt, you were given it.
“It’s different but like I said before, there’s the business side of it and the longevity side of whatever it is he’s trying to do and he’s done that. I just think he’s taken it too far.”
Sterling and Yan will have a title rematch at UFC 273 on April 9. The action will be held inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.