Aljamain Sterling might not be a matchmaker, but he has some thoughts on who should fight for a title next.
UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski was inches away from beating lightweight champ Islam Makhachev at UFC 284. But in the end, Makhachev would retain his title, winning by unanimous decision in enemy territory.
Following the aftermath of the super-fight, UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling believes the two fighters should go their separate and take on other challengers instead of doing an immediate rematch.
Who Should Makhachev & Volkanovski Fight Next?
‘Funkmaster’ doesn’t think there is a ‘clear cut contender’ in either the featherweight or the lightweight division, failing to mention Yair Rodriguez who just won the interim featherweight title last weekend. But, Sterling still dropped a couple of names on who he thinks should challenge Volkanovski and Makhachev for their belts next.
“Great fight man, back and forth. I do hope at some point that they do it again, but I would like to see both these guys stay in their weight classes, fight the next true contender,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “If they both win, maybe we could have that conversation again, because I don’t think there’s any other clear cut contender at 145 or at 155. You got Max Holloway if he loses to Arnold Allen, I think you can make that case that Arnold Allen should be next, like for sure. He shouldn’t have to wait or have to do another one.
“And then you have Charles Oliveira vs. Dariush, who I do think Dariush should just not have that fight and just go fight Islam Makhachev. Let’s book that now for a couple months down the line, even if it’s in October. Just give Dariush the title shot that he deserves and let’s see what happens.”
Arnold Allen is on a 12-fight win streak and has never lost inside the UFC Octagon. ‘Almighty’ has wins over Calvin Kattar, Dan Hooker and Sodiq Yusuff. While he probably won’t leapfrog interim champ Yair Rodriguez in the featherweight title picture, it’s hard to say he doesn’t deserve a title shot down the line if he beats Max Holloway on April 15th.
At lightweight lies another streaking contender: Beneil Dariush. The 33 year-old is on the cusp of a title shot at lightweight, facing off against Charles Oliveira at UFC 288 even if Sterling wants him to get an immediate title shot without it.
“That’s just my personal opinion. I like to do things on merit,” Sterling continued. “We get into the sport because we could kind of control our destiny, but you shouldn’t have to change who you are. And if you don’t wanna talk sh*t, man, you shouldn’t have to talk sh*t to sell a fight, to be a character, to get people to wanna watch you fight.
“If you’re good at your job, you are good at your job. As long as you have the opportunity to perform and show that for the fans. That’s all that matters to me. I do enjoy a good trash talking, but that’s just me personally. It just makes more at stake… I’m just excited to see what’s gonna happen at 155 and at 145, cause now I think that fight has sparked new life and new momentum.”