In the lightest division of the UFC, in the top 15 of which there are two Russian fighters -Peter Yan and Umar Nurmagomedov- she is once again restless. And once again the organization’s champion, Aljamain Sterling, became a troublemaker.
Since the conquest of the belt, some scandals with Sterling have constantly occurred, and the American himself becomes the initiator of these scandals. Actually, the moment of winning the belt turned out to be the same: do we all remember that Petr Yan knee, Sterling’s Oscar-winning acting game in the octagon, and his party in honor of the championship on the same night? In addition, Aljamain tried in every possible way to avoid a rematch with Jan, hinting that Peter did not deserve it and that it would be better to find another worthy opponent for him. And then he went into surgery for a longstanding neck injury. The first fight between Jan and Sterling took place on March 7, 2021, and the American went for revenge on April 9, 2022, that is, Sterling ran away from the Russian for more than a year.
After the rematch, in which Sterling won a highly controversial split decision, Aljamain launched into arguing about his greatness and demanded respect for himself. But disqualification victories and a controversial court decision didn’t add to Sterling’s popularity, and no one was taking him seriously yet.
In October 2022, Aljamain made a convincing belt defense against TJ Dillashaw. But the paradox is that this victory did not bring any dividend to Sterling in terms of popularity. To two controversial wins over Yan, he added a win over an injured veteran. Dillashaw entered the fight with an injury that worsened early in the fight, and TJ looked like a shadow of himself. Interestingly, Dillashaw was pretty much the only fighter Sterling entered the match without his customary delay.
Sterling is the weirdest UFC champion! He miraculously holds the belt.
After Aljamain’s victory over TJ, Henry Cejudo returned from retirement, the former UFC double champion, who was included in the USADA test pool and intended to reunite with Sterling. Cejudo wasn’t as lucky as Dillashaw, and old Sterling came on the scene. Aljamain, in several interviews, was eager to defeat Henry and said that in this case he would be the best fighter in the division in history. And at the same time he postponed the fight, this time because of a biceps injury.
“I did two fights and two training camps with a partially torn biceps tendon to continue to push the division forward for the fans and the UFC. Now is the time to properly resolve this issue. I talked about this before and after the last fight. When will athletes start to take care of their bodies? Sterling said in January.
The fight with Cejudo ended with the victory of the champion by split decision of the judges. For one thing, Sterling pretty much “cleaned up” the bantamweight division on paper. He strangled Cory Sandhagen, defeated Petr Yan twice, defeated former champions Dillashaw and Cejudo. But this is only on paper. In fact, of Aljamain’s four title victories, one was by disqualification in a fight he lost emphatically, and two by highly controversial court decision. And all this is accompanied by ridiculous statements about greatness, strange trash talk and postponed favorite battles. The neck, the biceps. Now the legs have been added to them.
Cejudo is back in the UFC in a big way. And Sterling won again by cunning
After beating Cejudo, Sterling held a sterdown with division number two Sean O’Malley. The UFC has announced a fight for August 19 in the main event of UFC 292 in Boston. But Aljamain played an old record.
“I’m still injured: my legs are swollen, my biceps are bothering me and I’m going to take a few more shots. I’m trying to get into this fight in August and right now we’re trying to see if I can make it because my legs are still very tender to the touch. I hope I didn’t mess anything up by saying that,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel.
Sterling immediately received “greetings” from Cejudo, who called him a coward and expressed his willingness to meet with O’Malley, as well as from Sean himself. Dana White reacted to this situation in the press conference of the organization’s last tournament.
“He will fight. Do you want me to explain what’s on Aljo’s mind? Henry Cejudo called me and told me: “That coward doesn’t want to fight. I’m ready, let’s do it. I’ll fight O’Malley.” We got in touch with his manager. Aljamain is one of those guys who just can’t get off the old path. It’s obvious he’s ready to fight. Why did he say this? I don’t know. But definitely the The fight is in force,” said Dana White at a press conference.
Aljamain Sterling – Henry Cejudo
Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Sterling, having analyzed the situation, could not think of anything better than to challenge O’Malley to a fight… a month before. Aljamain announced his willingness to perform on July 8 at UFC 290, but was again ridiculed.
“Aljo ‘August is too early, what about July’ Sterling,” O’Malley responded briefly and clearly to Sterling’s challenge, declaring that he would fight the champion on August 19 as scheduled.
Sterling once again justified the title of UFC’s muddiest champion. Constant undercover games, intrigues, strange interviews have already become part of Aljamain, and none of his quarrels can do without them. Perhaps the bantamweight division will not have much to put up with from the champion: in the event of a win over O’Malley, Sterling will most likely move up in weight for the sake of fighting Alexander Volkanovski, who, however, is still not looking forward to. fight. the whimsical american
Not surprisingly, Sterling was criticized even by UFC president Dana White, who generally treated the champion’s fabrications patronizingly. Dana at a press conference scolded the desire of the American to constantly withdraw from fights due to various injuries. However, Aljamain did not remain silent and in response accused White of inappropriate treatment of himself. Sterling is usually very cautious, but then he took a chance, not the smartest move. Let’s see what the emerging conflict between the champion and his employer will lead to.