UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling explained why he withdrew from his scheduled UFC 267 rematch against his rival, Petr Yan.
Sterling defeat Yan via a controversial fourth-round DQ back at UFC 259 in March. Yan was in complete control of the fight and was well on his way to finishing it or at least winning a decision. However, he made a colossal error when he landed an illegal knee to the head of a downed opponent. Sterling was not able to continue and, in a UFC first, the belt changed hands via DQ. Although Yan deserved to be punished for his infraction, there are many fans out there who are not buying Sterling as a champion due to him winning the fight by DQ.
The original plan was for Sterling to fight Yan in a rematch at UFC 267 later this month, but the champ was forced to pull out of the fight and was replaced by Cory Sandhagen. Yan and Sandhagen will now meet in the co-main event of UFC 267 for the interim bantamweight title. Speaking to Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Sterling explained why he decided to withdraw from the fight against Yan that was set to take place. According to Sterling, his neck is still not 100% healed, and he didn’t want to risk getting seriously hurt.
“I think that’s a pretty good, logical reason not to want to be paralyzed in the Octagon. I’m not looking to be the first person to win a belt by DQ and the first person in the Octagon to be paralyzed in the cage. I’m sorry if I think my health is more important, and the longevity of me living in my body, my capsule, is more important than proving some stupid beef who’s the better fighter when I’m not even 100 percent yet,” Sterling said.
How excited are you to see Aljamain Sterling return to the Octagon healthy later this year or sometime next year and defend his belt for the first time?This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM