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Ex-champ Aljamain Sterling announces timeline, weight class for UFC return

Aljamain Sterling wants an immediate rematch, but not immediately.

“Funk Master” will abandon his featherweight plans and hang around at 135 pounds for the time being, focused on his goal of recapturing the division crown from newly-minted bantamweight titleholder Sean O’Malley, who stopped Sterling in the UFC 292 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last weekend in Boston.

“Rematch 2024,” the 23-4 Sterling wrote on Twitter. “Game of inches. I’ll be back.”

The former champion was pressured to defend his division title against O’Malley just a few months after a hard-fought decision victory over Henry Cejudo, despite lingering injuries both before and after the “Triple C” fight. Taking the rest of the year off should help “Funk Master” get back to 100 percent for his inevitable return.

Sterling, 34, snapped a nine-fight win streak with his loss to O’Malley and has probably done enough over the last five years to earn an immediate rematch. That said, there’s no guarantee “Suga” will still be champion by the time “Funk Master” returns in 2024, with Marlon Vera and Merab Dvalishvili waiting patiently in the championship queue.

For more on Sterling’s performance at UFC 292 click here.

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