May 25, 2024

Former bantamweight champion is confident of a title shot providing UFC 300 win… ‘Why not just skip the line’


Former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling makes his UFC featherweight debut this coming weekend at UFC 300, as he takes on number eight-ranked, Calvin Kattar.

Aljamain Sterling previously flirted with the idea of moving up to 145lbs while he was bantamweight champion, but after losing the belt to Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 in August, he decided now was the right time.

Calvin Kattar suffered a torn ACL injury in his last fight – which required surgery – and so hasn’t fought since October 2022.

Despite both fighters coming in off losses, this fight may have featherweight title implications, as champion Ilia Topuria waits to see who his first title defense will come against.

It was originally assumed that ‘El Matador’ would rematch Alexander Volkanovski, but the Australian is likely going to take off an extended period to recover from the UFC 298 loss.

Aljamain Sterling provides weight update ahead of 145lb debut

Although there won’t be a concern over ‘Funkmaster’ missing weight, there is intrigue amongst the fans about how the 34-year-old may look at the higher weight.

Aljamain Sterling
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

At the UFC 300 media day this past Wednesday, Sterling provided an update on where his weight is ahead of Friday’s official weigh-ins. “It’s night and day, we (his team) were talking about the weight cut and it’s almost laughable for me, it’s still not easy but compared to doing what I was before for so many years, this is almost like a cake-walk.

“I’ve got about 15lbs (to cut) which is a lot nicer than having 25lbs.” Sterling said.

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‘Funkmaster’ has fought at 145lbs once before, but that was back in 2011 in what was just his fourth professional fight. The highest weight he has fought at during his 19-fight UFC tenure, is at 140lbs catchweight, when he took on and beat Renan Barao.

The 34-year-old mentioned that he thinks the fans will see a ‘flashier’ side of his game on Saturday night, as he won’t be fighting with a lack of energy.

“I’ve just got to go out there and perform and I think if I do that, the best version of myself shows up. There’s a lot that I feel like I haven’t been able to show in the Octagon because of energy consumption, the weight cut, I think now we’re going to be able to see a lot more of the flashier stuff and get back to the real Funk.”

Aljamain Sterling believes he could earn a title shot with an impressive win

With Ilia Topuria hoping to defend his title in Spain at some point this summer, Sterling has admitted that he believes he could slide into a title shot with an impressive win over Kattar this weekend.

Sterling joked about the 145lb division being a ‘tough gauntlet’ and not wanting to have to wait in the queue.

“I think so (can earn a title shot with a win), I think if Max (Holloway) goes out there and he wins, I think I go out there and I win and I look good doing it, Ilia Topuria has said what he’s said, there are no challengers so why not just skip the line instead of getting into the tough gauntlet of a queue.

“The UFC do what they want, right, so if they offer you a title fight, you’d be kind of crazy to tell them no, so if I go out there and do my job and look good on a huge card I think the rest will take care of itself.” Sterling added.

Movsar Evloev may have something to say about that though, as the undefeated Russian will feel that he has done enough to earn a title shot against the featherweight champion.

The 18-0 featherweight scored a controversial decision win over Arnold Allen back at UFC 297 in January, which was disputed by the Brit, as he felt he won.

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