The anticipation has been mounting, and now we have a decision.
Aljamain Sterling -- one of the most sought-after free agents in all of mixed martial arts (MMA) -- has announced his decision to re-sign with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after his contract expired last year.
Sterling explained his decision and thought process on a recent stop at The MMA Hour. And though he didn't go into exact financial details, Aljamain says at the end of the day, despite good offers from Bellator MMA and World Series of Fighting (WSOF), UFC offered him more.
A lot more.
"The contract was a lot more lucrative offer. In terms of the up front money and back end money in terms of becoming the champ and things like that, there was a lot more to offer with those guys. Ultimately, there are a bunch of things that go with it. The marketing, publicity and you can't really put a value on the UFC name, that has value in itself. When you tell people you fight for UFC, people know what that is automatically, whether or not they watch it. I made the right decision and I got some extra incentives in there. I'm excited because I honestly believe I am the best guy in the division. I think I have a style that people don't have an answer for."
"I did enjoy the process. I was uneasy about it at first because I wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen because you never know where you're going to end up. But it was an interesting process for sure. I think I learned a lot from it, and I'm excited man, I'm excited about the decision. I am happy, 100-percent happy with the decision. I think I got a better deal for myself than I originally would have had. I believe in myself, in my skills, team, so for me to go out there and short change myself, and know that I can bring something bigger to the table in due time when I get the opportunity to showcase my skills on a bigger platform, I know I'm going to bring in that money. So for me to take what was originally offered, it would have been bad, because I know what I bring to the table."
Sterling -- who is undefeated (12-0, 4-0 UFC) -- was last seen competing against Johnny Eduardo at UFC Fight Night 80 back in December, choking him out in the second round and giving him his third straight stoppage victory.
The Serra-Longo trained fighter -- who doesn't have a fight lined up at the moment -- will now look to build on his resume and prove to the UFC higher-ups that taking a gamble on him was worth the risk.
Any of you surprised and/or disappointed with his decision?