Fight fans will have to wait a little longer before seeing the rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.
Sterling, who captured the UFC bantamweight title last month at UFC 259 after Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee (see it HERE), was expected to book a rematch with the Russian fighter shortly after their first fight. “Funk Master” received considerable backlash for the way he handled the DQ win and was hoping a rematch with Yan would solidify his roll as the UFC’s 135-pound champ.
Unfortunately, Sterling is set to underdog surgery next week for a neck injury and will now be sidelined until October at the very earliest, per a report by ESPN. This puts the rematch with Yan on the back burner for much longer than expected, but Sterling has to get healthy before he steps back inside of the Octagon later this year.
According to “Funk Master,” doctors have diagnosed him with a herniated disc and will operate to fix his C6-C7 vertebrae.
“They told me I will heal in three months, and can start doing cardio to get myself ready,” Sterling told ESPN. “They wouldn’t want to see me take a fight until they see everything has fused in my neck correctly. Five months would be ideal, if I heal up really quick. I’m excited. The faster I heal up, the faster I can fight. We’ll find out in the next three months, and get something on schedule.”
While we wish Sterling the best with his surgery this is not great news if you’re Yan. The former UFC bantamweight champion was hoping to land a quick rematch with Sterling considering he was winning the first fight before the illegal knee landed, but “No Mercy” will have to wait deep into 2021 to score that opportunity. As you may have guessed, Yan was not too happy to learn about Sterling’s upcoming surgery and prolonged absence from competition.
Just strip this laughing stock from the title https://t.co/aG6cHxIH8Y— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) April 9, 2021
“Just strip this laughing stock from the title,” wrote Yan via Twitter.
With Sterling out of commission for the next six months it is unknown at this time if Yan will wait for his rematch or schedule another fight before “Funk Master” returns. Yan would be ill-advised to pass up another UFC title shot, but activity is key these days. Maybe the Russian contender wants to keep his nose wet and fight one more time before his rematch with Sterling.
Of course, UFC could also implement an interim title since Sterling’s championship reign started off on the wrong foot anyways. Such a situation would have to include Yan and likely the winner of the upcoming matchup between T.J. Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen this May (details HERE).
What say you, Maniacs? Should UFC strip Sterling of his title? If not, should Yan wait until October for the rematch?