Aljamain Sterling worried about Petr Yan jumping the rightful line

Thursday, June 06, 2019

UFC 238 is one of the most heavily stacked cards in recent history when it comes to title implications. Not only does it have two title fights, but there are plenty of other fights that could crown the next title challengers or close to it.

The bantamweight division will be the most closely watched division of the night, with a fight for the vacant title and two other bouts nipping at the heels of that one. One such fight between Aljamain Sterling and Pedro Munhoz may serve as a number one contender bout, especially if the former has his way.

“In my eyes, this is a number one contender fight,” Sterling told The Top Turtle MMA Podcast. “This is the fight that the fans want to see, and rightfully so, the winner of this deserves the next shot.”

While he’s positive of the merit of his fight on Saturday, he is understanding that the ‘right’ thing doesn’t always get done. Instead, he knows that money often rules the day and could come into play as to whether or not he winds up with a crack at the winner.

“Honestly, it’s a popularity contest,” Sterling said. “It’s what have you done for me lately… who they think can bring in the most dollars right now.”

And when you lay out those parameters, Sterling knows there is another fighter on the card who could possibly spoil things for him - a hungry up and comer.

“I think it might be a race between myself and Petr Yan,” he said. “Although he is fighting someone that I just beat. If he were to go out and get a finish over Rivera, I don’t know the UFC might try to pull some funny strings.”

However, Sterling has a plan for after the fight that includes a memorable post-fight interview that will, hopefully, keep the UFC and whoever happens to be champion at the end of the night interested.

“Oh yeah, I’ll be prepared,” Sterling said. “I’ve got a fair share of words I’d like to share with the company and share with all of the other bantamweights out there.”

The message of those words is pretty simple.

“At the end of the day, I still believe I’m the best bantamweight,” Sterling said.

Sterling will get a chance to prove his claim this weekend when he fights Pedro Munhoz on the ESPN prelims of UFC 238.

Author Daniel Vreeland is a co-founder of the Top Turtle Podcast, and a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu at New England Submission Fighting in Amherst, Massachusetts.