UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterlings next challenge comes as of this weekends UFC 280. At that event, in Abu Dhabis Etihad Arena, Sterling will defend his belt against former champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Sterling recently spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about this fight. He also discussed his history with the UFC, which hasnt been plain sailing.
Sometimes Personally i think like, for insufficient better terms, the clich, the red-headed stepchild, said Sterling (ht MMA Fighting). Sometimes I really do [feel like that]. Its not with everybody in the UFC. Certain individuals who probably matter probably the most. I assume its not necessarily the very best feeling to be on that side, but I roll with the punches. Im likely to do me, regardless of what. But I simply dont feel just like I obtain the push like maybe many others do. Or possibly Im just in my head.
Sterling is among few fighters who’ve publicly tested free agency. Back 2016 Sterling fought out his UFC contract and paid attention to offers before accepting a go back to the Octagon. Sterling announced he previously re-signed with the UFC in a The MMA Hour segment similar to LeBron James infamous free agent announcement referred to as YOUR CHOICE.
During his second spell in the UFC, Sterling has verbal about he and the UFC brass not necessarily seeing eye to eye. Even though sometimes rocky relationship Sterling could make the transition from prospect to contender to eventual champion.
He won the UFC bantamweight title in 2021 with a DQ make an impression on Petr Yan. Sterling defeated Yan by split decision this April to guard and unify the title. In his recent The MMA Hour appearance Sterling said he wasnt sure if the type of his title win played a job in his current relationship with the UFC.
In the event that you were to ask the brass, they would say no, but again, I dont know. Im just here rolling with the punches, he said. That the simplest way I could put that. But its hard to learn what this business are actually thinking. I dont think anybody know very well what theyre actually thinking, with regards to top of the echelons of the UFC, and the thing you can test to expect is they as if you and youre within their good graces. Thats really all there’s to it. Do your task, hopefully you take action well, and hopefully you obtain rewarded handsomely for this.
When asked about how exactly he could improve his relationship with the UFC, Sterling said: Im trying. Im focusing on it.
Ive been trying, he continued. I understand the people are busy and the planet doesnt just stop for me personally, but hopefully we get things determined and sort of find out the working relationship, because by the end of your day, were all business partners. I would like to help them earn money, I’d like them to greatly help me earn money, and I believe thats the simplest way you can try a relationship like this.
This weekend Sterling will undoubtedly be hoping to increase his current winning streak to eight fights. The only real losses on Sterlings record are from the rough patch he previously soon after signing his new cope with the UFC, when he lost to Bryan Caraway and Raphael Assuncao (both by split decision) and suffered a KO loss to Marlon Moraes (from a botched takedown attempt).
Sterlings wins in the UFC include victories over Cody Stamann, Jimmie Rivera, Pedro Munhoz and Cory Sandhagen.
Sterling vs. Dillashaw may be the co-main event for UFC 280. The primary event is Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev for the vacant UFC lightweight title.