Aljamain Sterling is on top of the world after his successful title defense at this past weekend’s UFC 273 event. Unfortunately for him, several within the mixed martial arts (MMA) community are still trying to tear him down.
“The Funkmaster” initially claimed the title in a fashion no fighter prefers. Absorbing a lethal illegal knee in the fourth round of his UFC 259 clash against Petr Yan, Sterling won the belt via disqualification because he was unable to continue (watch highlights). The result led the vast majority of fans and media alike to regard Yan as the true champion despite clearly breaking the rules.
In their rematch, Sterling got the job done via split decision, which ultimately came down to how the first round was scored. Mid-week just days removed from the fight, the debate raged on while Sterling addressed one of his more notable detractors regarding the win, UFC President, Dana White, who believes Yan should have gotten the nod.
“Dana’s always going to be throwing dirt on my name, that’s just what he does. I think he has Yan rated so highly, he’s such a dangerous guy, and to have the grappler do that to him, he was really, really shocked,” Sterling said to BJPenn.com. “Especially after the first fight because he probably thought I had no chance in hell of winning that fight either.
“Sucks to be him right now in the sense of you really wrote me off after everything you have seen me do in this sport, in his organization, it’s a slap in the face but at the end of the day, it doesn’t bother me,” he continued. “I think it bothers him more, clearly because he doesn’t know how to judge a fight, which it shows. I think he maybe let his emotions get ahead of him and that’s probably it. He was probably really invested in Yan winning that fight and I threw a monkey wrench into their plans.”
Despite still being early into his run atop the Bantamweight mountain, Sterling, 32, admits this isn’t the first time he’s been on the receiving end of critique from his boss.
“It’s happened in the past, more so the business aspect of things,” he said. “When it comes to outside of the Octagon whenever we have talked it is super cordial, I’m super polite, he’s super polite and he’s always nice to me. We have always had good conversations, but when it comes to the fights, he doesn’t really like grapplers like that unless you are Khabib.”
For complete UFC 273: “Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie” results and play-by-play, click HERE.