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Demetrious Johnson stands by critique of ‘gifted’ Aljamain Sterling: ‘If he does it again, I’ll say the same f—king thing again’

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Demetrious Johnson has all the respect in the world for Aljamain Sterling, but stands by his criticism of the UFC champion.

UFC 259: Petr Ya vs. Alajamain Sterling Demetrious Johnson MMA news Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Demetrious Johnson does not believe in karma, Aljamain Sterling.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight champion Sterling suggested Demetrious Johnson’s recent technical knockout (TKO) loss via knee (watch here) to Adriano Moraes was due to karma. Sterling’s comment comes after Johnson argued a rule change was necessary after Sterling’s attempts to stall led to a disqualification win (watch illegal knee) over Petr Yan at UFC 259.

“I don’t think it was karma. I think if I hadn’t said anything, to begin with, I think the same thing probably would have still happened. The biggest thing is I’m always very unbiased,” Johnson tells MMAMania.com. “I like Aljamain Sterling. I think he’s a great athlete, I great fighter. When I sat there and watched that fight, I’m like — and he can probably vouch for this too — any wrestling coach, when you get pinned or stacked or anything like that, they’ll say, ‘You shouldn’t have been there in the first place.’

“So when I watched that fight, Aljamain Sterling is such a gifted athlete and he’s so skillful. But it’s like, why would you put yourself there in the first place? He said, ‘I felt I was in a safe place.’ If I was coaching him I would tell him, ‘Dog, we don’t rely on you to be there for a safe spot. You get back to your feet, you pull guard, you have great grappling. Let’s put ourselves somewhere else.’ Granted, f—king homeboy Petr Yan kneed him, right?”

Johnson, whose undoing against ONE Championship Flyweight title came was a knee to a grounded opponent, says he lives by critiques he preaches.

“All my talking comes from my coach. He has always said that,” the former UFC Flyweight champion asserts. “There are times in fights I fought, such as John Dodson, where they did the exact same thing. He was putting his hands down on the ground the first time we fought and I couldn’t knee him in the face. And he did it on purpose. My coach said how is this even a fight? If a person puts his hands on the ground and stops the momentum of the way the fight’s going, that doesn’t make sense to me.

“That’s why I said what I said. Aljamain Sterling was on his knees and he was stopping the progression of the fight. Petr Yan had to stop and think about the next shot he was going to throw. That’s where it came from. For him to say it was karma — I don’t believe in karma. I’m a good person, I feel... If he does it again, I’ll say the same f—king thing again.”

Johnson will fight reigning ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon in a special rules fight at ONE X on Dec. 5. Rounds one and three will be contested under ONE Muay Thai rules; meanwhile, rounds two and four will take place under ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts (MMA) ruleset.


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