Aljamain Sterling previews future matchup against UFC champion Ilia Topuria: “That’s not an easy fight”

By Josh Evanoff - February 22, 2024

Aljamain Sterling is well aware that it’s going to take a lot to defeat UFC featherweight champion Ilia Topuria.

Aljamain Sterling, Ilia Topuria

‘Funk Master’ has been out of action since a knockout loss to Sean O’Malley last August at UFC 292. The defeat ended Aljamain Sterling’s historic bantamweight title reign in spectacular fashion. After the defeat, he called for a rematch with ‘Sugar’, but Dana White and company instead booked the champion against Marlon Vera.

With that, Aljamain Sterling decided it was time to move up to featherweight. At UFC 300 in April, the former bantamweight champion will look to defeat the returning Calvin Kattar. ‘The Boston Finisher’ has been out of action since a stoppage loss to Arnold Allen in October 2022. That defeat to ‘The Almighty’ saw Katter suffer a knee injury.

Aljamain Sterling’s move to the featherweight division comes at a time of change at 145 pounds. Earlier this month, Ilia Topuria knocked out Alexander Volkanovski to win UFC gold. In the process, ending the historic title reign of ‘The Great’, and changing the hierarchy at the top of featherweight. Most fans were impressed by Topuria’s performance, and that’s the case for Sterling as well.

Speaking in a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Aljamain Sterling recapped Ilia Topuria’s title win. There, the former bantamweight champion was brutally honest about a potential future meeting with ‘El Matador’. While Sterling knows that Topuria is beatable, he knows it won’t be easy.

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Aljamain Sterling previews future fight with UFC champion Ilia Topuria

“I think he could be champ for quite some time if he wants to.” Aljamain Sterling stated in a recent YouTube video, recapping Ilia Topuria’s UFC 298 title win. “That’s a hard style of fight. I mean, what do you do? Ilia can actually wrestle… It’s a tough matchup for anybody. Even for me, if I had the opportunity to fight him.” (h/t MMA News)

He continued, “Say I finish Calvin Kattar, make a big statement, they want something new, want something fresh, the Brian Ortega/Yair [Rodriguez] fight isn’t that great; maybe they throw me in there. I’m looking at it like, I got my work cut out for me. That’s not an easy fight. That’s just being as honest as it is. “

“I know I can punch, but it’s not how hard you can hit. Aljamain Sterling concluded, discussing Ilia Topuria. “Sometimes you’ve gotta be able to take that back.”

What do you make of these comments? Do you want to see Ilia Topuria vs. Aljamain Sterling in the future? Who do you have winning that potential matchup?