UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling wants a title unification bout and rematch with new interim champ Petr Yan in the early portion of 2022.
Sterling spoke with MMA journalist Ariel Helwani on the latest edition of The MMA Hour and provided the following update about his recovery from April neck surgery. He says he's feeling good and wants the rematch with Yan sooner than later, following the 28-year old former champion's unanimous decision win over Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 this past Saturday.
"I told (Sean) Shelby, right after that fight was done I texted him and said January or February?" Sterling said. "This is when I'll be ready to go. I'm feeling a lot better these days, especially with all the work I've been putting in. Really getting to focus on the neurological side of everything to get my muscle atrophy to stop and all of that. I'm good man, I'm excited for the future."
He continued on to respond to former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw's recent claims that he doubts Sterling will ever fight again. The 32-year old Uniondale, New York native responded with the following and made it clear that Dillashaw can get in line and wait for his title shot.
“F*ck T.J,” Sterling said (h/t MMA Fighting). “F*ck T.J. Let T.J. wait. That b*tch-ass motherf*cker can wait, just like that. The guy’s a f*cking cheater. He had a close fight. A lot of people still don’t even think he won the fight by hugging another man by the waist. At least I actually go for submissions. I think there’s people that deserve to unify the belts that have the belts. Am I crazy? How do you not unify the belts? That makes no sense. Let T.J. wait, and it’s not my fault he got his knee ripped off in that fight with Sandhagen. That’s on him, so it is what it is. He’s got to wait, just like everyone else has to wait their turn. He waited two years already, right? He can wait another couple months.”