What is Aljamain Sterling missing from his Hall of Fame resume?
A box office blockbuster, according to former heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who now serves as UFC color commentator and MMA analyst for ESPN. But that’s about to change when “Funk Master” fights bantamweight superstar “Suga” Sean O’Malley atop the UFC 292 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Sat. night (Aug. 19, 2023) at TD Garden in Boston.
“He is the biggest star, meaning Sean O’Malley. He is the guy that the general public would seem to be drawn to,” Cormier said (transcribed by MMA News). “But most times, you need a guy to uplift you. If you’re fighting a bigger star, that bigger star will raise your profile. When I went into the fights with Jon Jones, Jon Jones’ profile was so big that he elevated me. Then when I fought Stipe (Miocic), it did the same thing.”
UFC 292 marks the fourth straight title defense for Sterling, 34, who previously defeated former bantamweight champions Henry Cejudo, TJ Dillashaw, and Petr Yan. His Cejudo victory marked “Funk Master’s” first PPV headliner since becoming 135-pound champion.
Was his opposition to blame?
“It makes you bigger on the other side. I talk about it all the time with wrestling, it’s the rub,” Cormier continued. “When you beat the man, it ultimately becomes your show. I think Aljamain, that’s one thing he’s been missing. For as many title defenses as he’s had, he has not had that ‘name.’ For as good as TJ Dillashaw was, Henry Cejudo, Petr Yan, people weren’t really tuning in to watch them. They do tune in to watch Sean O’Malley.”
We’ll find out this weekend in “Beantown.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/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. For the updated and finalized UFC 292 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.