Aljamain Sterling might not be a champion anymore, but that won’t stop him from fighting the best.
Fighting most of his career at bantamweight, ‘Funkmaster’ is packing up his bags and headed to featherweight following his title loss to Sean O’Malley. It’s not an easy task for Sterling as his first encounter at 145 comes against #8 ranked contender Calvin Kattar. The matchup takes place on the stacked UFC 300 card on Apr. 13.
‘I Wanna Fight The Biggest And Baddest’
Sterling explains how they ultimately landed on Kattar as an opponent.
“They offered 4 names and Kattar was the highest ranked,” Sterling said on ‘The MMA Hour‘. “Maybe I’m an idiot for this. Maybe I need to take the Drakkar Klose route and just go, ‘give me the easiest opponent for the most amount of money’. The Chael Sonnen route. But, I wanna fight the biggest and baddest dudes, man. Like at the end of the day, I think that’s what matters the most.
“How many of those guys were you actually able to beat? How did those fights look? What was your strategy like? My skillset vs. his skillset. So there’s a lot that goes into it, and that was the fight that made the most sense to me. He’s the highest ranked out of the 4 that they offered, and I think I beat him, and I beat him in good fashion.”
Not Looking Past Kattar
Kattar isn’t being counted out by Sterling for one second. ‘The Boston Finisher’ has fought the division’s elite in Max Holloway, Arnold Allen, and Josh Emmett. Kattar’s resume includes wins over Giga Chikadze, Dan Ige and Jeremy Stephens.
Sterling knows what he’s in for on Apr. 13.
“By no means am I saying I’m running through him,” Sterling cleared up. “I have no idea what’s gonna happen. I can’t predict the future. All I could do is be as confident as I can know I put the goddamn work in, and I’m gonna be doing that.”
‘If Volkanovski Wins Again, The Door Is Wide Open’ At Featherweight
Sterling believes a victory over Kattar puts him in a great position for a potential title shot. But, we’ll have to wait and see how things play out in the featherweight division as Alexander Volkanovski defends his title against Ilia Topuria at UFC 298.
“But I know if I beat him the way that I think I’m capable of doing, I think I’m right next in line for a title shot,” Sterling said. “I don’t think that’s too far fetched of a thing. I mean, you look at the guys at the top that already fought for the belt. If Volkanovski wins again, I think the door is wide open. I know [Movsar] Evloev just had a really great fight with Arnold Allen. I know Dana sh*tted on that one.”
“It’s nice to see other people get to feel what I feel,” Sterling added. “They get shitted off for their performances. I’m just like, What did I do? So, you know I like to see Dana spread it around to Du Plessis, spread it around [to Evloev]. But, yeah we’ll see what happens. It’s a great opportunity.”
Is Aljamain Sterling right up there for a title shot, should he conquer Calvin Kattar?