Aljamain Sterling captured the bantamweight title by way of disqualification at UFC 259 back in March 2021 — thanks to an illegal knee by opponent Petr Yan — then retained his title by outlasting “No Mercy” at UFC 273 the following April, a five-round performance that saw “Funk Master” go 2-for-22 in takedown attempts and land just 91 strikes.
Championship material? Not according to former titleholder TJ Dillashaw.
“I haven’t been impressed with his wrestling,” Dillashaw told MMA Junkie. “He’s a (Division III) wrestler, and I’ve been wrestling D1. I think his takedown defense is under 50 percent. His striking is ... it’s embarrassing that he’s the champion his striking is that bad. It’s God awful. He uses his awkwardness to his advantage, but when you start throwing with him he just cowers. I don’t know. There’s a lot there. I can out-grapple you, I can out-strike you. I’m going to put on a clinic.”
Sterling had some equally “slimy” comments about Dillashaw.
We’ll find out which bantamweight is the superior fighter when they collide at the upcoming UFC 280 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Sat., Oct. 22, 2022 from inside Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the same card where Yan will return against division lightning rod Sean O’Malley.
To see who else is fighting at UFC 280 click here.