Aljamain Sterling lost his Bantamweight championship at UFC 292 last night (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023) when Sean O’Malley finished him in the second round inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts (watch highlights). And Sterling wasted no time calling for an immediate rematch at UFC 292’s post-fight press conference (replay here).
“I would first and foremost love an opportunity to run that back and just to get some definitive answers,” Sterling told the media. “I don’t want to say a better job because I feel like the guys I trained with were phenomenal, but maybe make it more intentful to have guys that are giving me that look going side to side so that I do a better job of preparing for that. Because that ultimately was the one thing I was concerned with.
“It was the one thing that he did a great job with — neutralizing my forward pressure where I was like, ‘You know what, let’s play Matador,’” Sterling continued. “And I was trying to let him in so that I could spin him to the cage. But, he didn’t really play the game. So, it’s just one of those things, a couple of tactical things I think I need to look at, and I think is a very winnable fight. I think he’s good at what he does. I’m good at what I do.
“[An immediate rematch] is 100 percent what I would like the most,” Sterling added. “And it’s not saying, like, Sean doesn’t deserve — he could go out there and beat me again. I think it just strengthens his case that he’s as good as he says he is. But, I think I’ve earned it. I would like to think that I’ve earned my right to get an immediate rematch.”
While Sterling has earned the right for an immediate rematch — he boasts the most consecutive title defenses in UFC Bantamweight division history — it seems like Marlon Vera will be getting the next shot against O’Malley.
In the same interview, Sterling emotionally reflected on his time as a champion and what it did for him.
“Definitely proud of everything, man — glass half full,” Sterling explained. “I get choked up when I talk about this. I don’t come from the best household, you know? So, just being able to find inspiration in other people and kind of carving out your own path. That’s the one thing I love about the sport. It’s allowed me to do things my way. Man, life is good. I got my family. I got my beautiful fiancee. You know, I don’t want cry on f—king camera.
“Competition is okay,” Sterling continued. “But, this has really helped change my life. Like I know the UFC gets a lot of sh-t from like the fighters and stuff, but if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the life that I live today. I told Dana that at the weigh-ins yesterday and Hunter [Campbell], like if it wasn’t for them — half the things I’ve done in this in the sport wouldn’t be possible. The things I’ve been able to do for my family — I bought my mom a house. I’m doing a little real estate, I own three houses now. I’m set in terms of financial means, you know, this is just icing on the cake, and I took a shot. I took a shot trying to come back and trying to do something unthinkable and making a dream into a reality. I fell short, but it happens, you know, so I’m super proud of everything I’ve done. I’m bulletproof, man. Like, no one can shake me mentally. No one but myself.”
For complete UFC 292 results, coverage and highlights, click HERE.