Petr Yan targets October title fight with Aljamain Sterling

Petr Yan
Image via Petr Yan/ UFC Russia on Instagram

New UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan knows who he wants to fight in his first title defense, and when he wants to make that defense.

The UFC bantamweight title became vacant when Henry Cejudo retired in May. The UFC moved to crown a new champion by booking a title fight between Yan and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo at last weekend’s UFC 251 card. In the end, Yan won this fight with a brutal, fifth-round stoppage, becoming the new bantamweight king.

Speaking to the media after his victory over Aldo, Yan explained that he hopes to take a bit of time off before returning to the cage. He views October as a suitable timeframe for his next contest.

“I’m certainly happy to win this belt in such difficult times,” Yan said (via MMA Junkie). “It was my longterm goal. Everything went excellent. We knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I had everything perfect.

“I want to take a rest now, recover, go back to my homeland to see my family, and then it’s the work of my management team,” Yan added. “In my first 18 months, I had six fights. I’ve never said no to an offer, so I’ll probably find out soon. … I think October will be a perfect time.”

Yan also targeted No. 2 bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling, who is riding five-straight wins over Brett Johns, Cody Stamann, Jimmie Rivera, Pedro Munhoz and Cory Sandhagen, as a suitable opponent for his first title defense.

“I think Aljamain Sterling deserves to fight for the title,” Yan said. “He’s on a good streak. He beat a lot of good guys.”

Prior to his title-winning stoppage of Jose Aldo, Yan dispatched of another MMA legend in Urijah Faber, who he knocked out at UFC 245 in December. That win was preceded by wins over Jimmie Rivera, John Dodson, Douglas Andrade, Jin Soo Son and Teruto Ishihara in his first five UFC bouts.

Do you think a title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling is the right choice?