Petr Yan fires back at Aljamain Sterling for “paper champion” comments

Petr Yan, Cody Garbrandt

UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan has responded after Aljamain Sterling referred to him as a “paper champion.”

Henry Cejudo announced his retirement from MMA earlier this year, leaving the bantamweight title up for grabs. As a result, Petr Yan stood up to take on UFC veteran Jose Aldo in a vacant title clash at UFC 251. The UFC standout administered an onslaught of unanswered blows which resulted in his fifth-round TKO victory and the 135-pound crown. He is also undefeated since joining the organization in 2018, with previous wins against Urijah Faber and Jimmie Rivera.

However, the No. 2 ranked bantamweight, Aljamain Sterling, doesn’t think the Russian fighter has done enough to deserve the title. “The Funk Master” has also been on a tear throughout the division and has tallied five consecutive wins. In his last outing, Sterling was able to silence the surging contender Cory Sandhagen with a rear-naked choke. He beat his opponent in less than two minutes of their fight and is now on a campaign for a shot at the title. Sterling is more than confident he has what it takes to overthrow the “paper champion” Petr Yan.

“Paper Yan is a paper champion,” Sterling wrote on Instagram. “His resume is a single ply, too thin to even wipe my ass with it. Hasn’t beaten a single guy in the top five. So you know I’m coming on that [peach emoji ]no tissues….pause!”

Petr Yan was less not amused by Sterling’s comments and responded to his rival on Twitter.

“Keep begging #FunkNotNext or is he? I don’t know, I don’t care.”

Sterling is being touted as a possible fighter for Petr Yan to face next in his first title defence. However UFC president Dana White is hasty to confirm the possible bout. Sterling’s former opponent Marlon Moraes thinks he knows why.

“Dana White’s an MMA fan. He’s a fighting fan. I don’t think he wants to see one guy trying to get the other guy’s head off but the other guy is just avoiding him, trying to hug him, scared to get hit. I think he wants to see a guy who’s going to get in there, is going to hit him, is going to hit back. If that guy doesn’t get knocked out, he’s going to get knocked out. I think that’s what Dana and that’s what the fans want to see,” Moraes said to Lucas Grandsire of MyMMANews.

“I think people are a little bored. You know you get in there and just try to hug and pray for a submission. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think every fan and Dana wants to see blood, he wants to see one guy knock the other guy out.”

Do you want to see Aljamain Sterling get the next crack at Petr Yan?