The finish and aftermatch of the UFC 259 showdown between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling is one of the sport’s whackiest events. For the first time, a champion lost his title due to a disqualification deemed to be intentional. Many fans are expecting to receive an announcement of their rematch any day now. However, Sterling is fine with a rematch, but he is also fine if the UFC decides to go in a different direction.
Sterling vs Yan at UFC 259
Scorecards were all over the place for the bantamweight championship bout. From a viewership viewpoint, Petr was professedly winning the fight after gaining his timing and distance after the first round likely in favor of Sterling. Aljamain raced towards the center of the cage with force and a heavy pace to open the fight. The tide showed to swing in his favor, as he landed shots from awkward angles.
However, as the fight continued, Yan was able to find his time. Unfortunately, Sterling was blasted with an illegal knee as a downed opponent in the 4th round. Yan was ultimately disqualified due to his actions, losing his world title in the process.
Due to an intentional foul, @FunkMasterMMA is the new bantamweight champion. #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/AlNLboFIlr
— UFC (@ufc) March 7, 2021
Sterling on Yan Rematch
Initially, everybody thought that a rematch was inevitable due to the nature of the finish. However, while Sterling wants the rematch, he made it clear that he doesn’t need it.
“I won the belt based on the rules. I didn’t do anything wrong on my end,” Sterling said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “Played by the rules, and I played fair. I came to win. Pushed the pace the entire time.
“If he got frustrated and decided to go the illegal route, that’s on him for whatever reason. You don’t become a champion by not knowing the rules. I would imagine that that’s as intentional as it gets.”
As Sterling continued, he spoke about a potential rematch. While the fight ended in controversy, Aljo has made it clear on numerous occasions that he would like to fight Henry Cejudo,
“I thought about it a little later and based on the way he did everything, a situation like that where it was intentional, and when something is that blatant, I don’t see how it could be deemed anything else other than fully intentional,” Sterling said. “I know the fans want the rematch and I want a rematch because we didn’t really have a finish. But I wouldn’t be opposed if they decided to go with somebody else. I wouldn’t care.”
Should Sterling face Yan in a rematch or head towards a new direction?