‘I’m Struggling to Get Through Two Rounds’- Aljamain Sterling Details His Physical Ailments

Published 09/30/2021, 1:25 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 06: Aljamain Sterling prepares to fight Cory Sandhagen in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 250 event at UFC APEX on June 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour and explained his recent fight cancelation. ‘The Funkmaster’ was booked to defend his undisputed championship against Petr Yan on October 30 at UFC 267. However, news recently broke that Sterling was out of the fight after not receiving medical clearance to compete on the aforementioned date.

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Sterling’s health-related woes stem from a recent neck surgery from which he hasn’t fully and effectively recovered. When speaking to Helwani, Sterling detailed how he was unable to give off the best of his abilities in the training room. He explained he would struggle to go past the second round and this fatigue would obviously be detrimental when facing Yan.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: (R-L) Aljamain Sterling punches Petr Yan of Russia in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“The way this training camp has been going, I’m probably just going to lose weight and go out there and just wing it again and see what the fu*k happens. That’s honestly how I felt. I’m struggling to get through two rounds and to get to the third round, I’m pretty much throwing zero punches because my arms are fatigued that I can’t even get through anything.”

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“My legs are fine, my lungs felt okay. I felt like I was doing all the cardio work but anything I would have a hard week, a sparring session, of course I was sparring with Merab [Dvalishvili] so that’s a pretty high rubric to use.”

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“Even so we’ve sparred multiple times for years and nothing has ever changed. I think just the fact that I had such a big surgery and it’s been such a long time that the nerves are pressed and the atrophy that I had.”

When can Aljamain Sterling return to form?

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Given the depth of his recent neck surgery, ‘The Funkmaster’ will most likely be out of action until the first quarter of 2022. In the meantime, an interim title fight has been set between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen on the same date.

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Sandhagen and Yan are both coming off losses thus making the interim title fight booking rather peculiar. However, it’s certainly a fight that fans would love to see as both men are on top of their games in the bantamweight division.

Read this story: UFC Champions Who Never Successfully Defended Their Belts

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Darryl Pinto

1938 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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