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UFC 292 could mark Aljamain Sterling’s final Bantamweight bout - ‘If I win, I’m out of here’

Alleged weight bully no more?

Is it finally time to make history?

Aljamain Sterling will attempt to score his fourth consecutive Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight title defense this weekend (Sat., Aug., 19, 2023) when he takes on Sean O’Malley in the main event of UFC 292 inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

And it could very well be the last time we see “Funkmaster” compete at 135 pounds.

According to “Funkmaster,” cutting weight has become more arduous as he ages. Now 34, Sterling says in his younger days a tough weight cut didn’t have that much of an effect on his performances.

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

“I would just compete like just an animal, like an Energizer bunny for days,” he said on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “I kind of feel like I’m slowing down a little bit, and that comes with age.”

That’s the reason the 135-pound champion reaffirmed that should he defeat “Suga” in “Beantown,” moving up to the Featherweight division will likely be the next move.

“This is more than likely my last fight at 135,” Sterling said. “There’s a 99 percent chance it’s my last. If I win this, for sure, I’m out of here.”

For Sterling, a shot at Alexander Volkanovski’s 145-pound title is the goal, but there simply is no telling if UFC matchmakers will grant him an immediate title shot in his divisional debut, though that’s usually the norm for champion’s vacating a belt to go challenge another division.

Another big reason, obviously, for Sterling’s desire to move up: Allow his long-time friend and teammate, Merab Dvalishvili, to compete for the 135-pound strap. Dvalishvili is currently ranked No. 1 in the weight class and should be next in line for a title fight. But, it won’t come against Sterling since the pair vowed to never fight each other (unless it’s for $10 billion).

Even if some think that’s a bad idea.

“It’s Merab’s time, man,” Sterling said. “And the second part of that is, I’m a little bit over cutting weight, this much weight. I walk around 165, 170 [pounds]. I think I could hold that frame relatively better, and I think my conditioning and everything could actually go up a little bit more, back to when I was younger, where I was cutting less.

“I’m 34 now, so I think I just wanna get ahead of it before it gets ahead of me,” Sterling concluded.

Of course, there are several outcomes that can happen at UFC 292 (draw, No Contest or a loss) that could prompt “Funkmaster” to stick around for at least one more fight. And “Suga” is more than willing and capable of ruining the champion’s immediate plans.

He’s banking on it.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 292: “Sterling vs. O’Malley” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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