Knowing that UFC bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo will be out of action for a while, top-ranked contender Aljamain Sterling is now eyeing a fight with Petr Yan for an interim belt.
“The Funkmaster” spoke to Damon Martin at MMAFighting.com and said that with Cejudo likely fighting Joseph Benavidez for the UFC flyweight belt next, he doesn’t want to sit and wait around for him. That’s why he is targeting a fight against one of the division’s hottest fighters in Yan, and he wants an interim title on the line.
“If Cejudo is going to go back down to 125lbs against Joey Two-Times then I’ll be more than happy to give Petr Yan his chance to dance,” Sterling said. “He’s been doing a lot of talking. I think that slowed down when I put him in his place a little bit but that is the fight that would make the most sense. I’m about fighting the best guys. I’m not about trying to hand pick my fights and tip toe around the competition. So if he’s the next best guy, the next highest ranked guy, sign me up.”
Sterling recently called out everyone in the top-10 but seems to have set his focus specifically on Yan, who is arguably the hottest fighter in the division aside from Sterling. Aljo is currently ranked No. 2 in the UFC’s official bantamweight rankings, just one spot behind Marlon Moraes who just lost to Cejudo at UFC 238. while Yan is ranked at No. 4.
Aljo says that he respects Yan as a fighter but believes it’s a good stylistic matchup for him and he wants the fight if the UFC is on board with it.
“(Yan) doesn’t show much improvement with each fight. He hits hard, he’s got good striking, he’s got a good left hook, he’s tough, well-rounded but I just think I do everything a little bit better than he does. That’s my honest assessment of the guy. I think he’s tough but I think he’s very, very beatable,” Sterling said.
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