Aljamain Sterling may have captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight title via disqualification (watch highlights), but he says Petr Yan is the real paper champ.
Sterling’s legitimacy as Bantamweight kingpin has been questioned from the get-go. “Funkmaster” was awarded the crown after Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee landed in round four of their fight at UFC 259. Many are under the impression that Yan had momentum and would have won the fight if it had gone the distance.
Sterling (20-3) matched up his resume to Yan’s (15-2) in a recent press scrum.
“He had a layup,” Sterling told reporters at UFC 264 (h/t MMAjunkie) this past weekend. “That was the worst performance that I could remember in a very long time, and he had a slam dunk to bring it home and solidify everything and shut up all the critics for himself because he never fought anyone in the top five. I fought three guys in the top five — I beat them all, but I’m the paper champ? It’s ironic, but at the end of the day, I think this is a blessing in disguise. I feel good, I feel healthy, and I can’t wait to just remind the world that what I’ve done was no accident and what he’s done, he got here with the Dana White privilege (a term coined by Tony Ferguson), and I can’t wait to shut him up.”
Sterling and Yan are expected to rematch for the UFC Bantamweight title at a later date as “Funkmaster” recovers from a neck injury.
Unless, of course, Dana White and Co. have different plans in the “interim.”
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