Two division UFC champion Henry Cejudo is currently on the shelf after getting shoulder surgery, which is why Sterling is open to a potential interim title bout against Petr Yan.
“I don’t think it makes sense for an interim title, but it kind of bugs me,” Sterling told MMA Junkie Radio. “For (Cejudo) to have to come back and defend the flyweight title, now puts the bantamweight division in limbo once again. After it just got some new life, it got some hot prospects, surging contenders. This division hasn’t been better since the whole thing with T.J. (Dillashaw) in my personal opinion. And I think you don’t want to lose that momentum, so that’s the perfect scenario for me, but if Cejudo has to go down and defend that belt first then I’m 100 percent down for an interim title fight vs. Petr Yan.”
Yan is currently out of action himself after getting elbow surgery, but he is expected to return to action in a few months.
Sterling believes that when a bout against Cejudo does materialize, one thing Sterling will provide is a different kind of challenge for Cejudo.
“I knew that was the belt that he (Cejudo) had to defend first, but I also know he doesn’t like making 125 (pounds),” Sterling said. “I know he’s not afraid, but it’s the path of least resistance in terms of a first title fight back, so if that’s the route he wants to go, I understand it. I think he knows if he comes back up to bantamweight, it’s going to be a long night for him. I’m a different fight compared to everybody else, and I think he knows that. I got great jiu-jitsu off my back, especially in top position, and my striking just keeps getting better every single time I step in there. I think I’m starting to finally come into my own and pull off the stuff that we work on in the gym and that my coaches have been raving about for so long.”
Cejudo is expected to return to action in late 2019 or early 2020, but is expected to defend his flyweight title before putting the bantamweight gold on the line.