UFC bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, is scheduled to face former bantamweight champ, TJ Dillashaw, at UFC 279 on September 10 in either Boston or Atlanta.
MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn and Nolan King were the first to report the news of the matchup being in the works, although the promotion themselves has yet to officially announce anything regarding the event or booking. Sterling himself also refuted the report via a video posted to his official Youtube channel on Thursday, where he explained why he hasn't signed any bout agreement yet for a fight with Dillashaw and doesn't plan to until the UFC increases the pay in his current contract.
“There’s no fight until there’s ink on paper, and as of right now, my contract is exactly the same,“ Sterling said (h/t MMA Fighting). "There has been no escalator in this fight. I’d like to think that I played my part, did the right things, and even allowed myself to be the bad guy in the last outing with Petr Yan, and help play up the storyline. So one would think that being a company man would actually help you in the long run. So I did my job – as of right now, I’m training, hoping that we come to some type of agreement to give some type of pay bump which naturally happens in all the contracts. For me, I want to make sure we get the deal right before we just jump into another fight because, at the end of the day, I climbed through the ranks, I worked my ass off, and I played my position in terms of helping to promote the fights, which a lot of these guys don’t even do. I’m here to be a company man, and at the same time, I want to look out for my best interests. There’s a fine line where there’s a balance where getting both of those done can happen. There is no fight. I’m not defending against nobody. I’m on vacation until then, but I’m training getting myself back.”
Sterling is riding a seven-fight winning streak currently and is coming off of a split-decision win over former UFC bantamweight champion, Petr Yan, in their rematch at UFC 273. Dillashaw meanwhile is 5-1 in his last six Octagon outings and will look to build off of a split-decision victory over Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 32 last July.