‘Whoever Wants the Smoke’- Aljamain Sterling Ranks his Hit List for UFC Bantamweight Title Defenses

Published 05/17/2021, 8:50 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)


Aljamain Sterling took to Twitter and revealed a potential hit list he intends to follow up on for his title defenses. ‘The Funkmaster’ captured the undisputed title via DQ win when Petr Yan landed a flagrant knee to a downed opponent. Chiefly, this was the first time in UFC history that a belt changed hands due to a disqualification.

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Aljamain Sterling’s controversial victory over Yan created an uproar in the MMA community especially when fans saw him celebrating backstage. Furthermore, his divisional rival including Yan has constantly fired shot and trolled Sterling for being a champion merely on paper. However, given Yan’s latest tweet it would seem as though Sterling is ready to handle championship business head-on.

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The names that Sterling has listed off are arguably some of the hardest available fights currently in the division. Sterling has made sure to mention the superstar fighters of the bantamweight division including Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw. If Aljamain Sterling manages to rattle off wins over the opponents on his rader, he’ll go down as an all-time great.

Aljamain Sterling: On the comeback trail

The Serra-Longo stand-out is currently out of commission as he decided to undergo a neck surgery that has sidelined him. The decision to undergo surgery before re-matching Petr Yan has led to claims that he’s ducking the fight. ‘No Mercy’ Yan is obviously one of the biggest proponents of this theory and can’t wait to settle the score.

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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)

Aljamain Sterling is targeting a September-October return to fighting and his first match will definitely be against Yan. Waiting in the wings is a kill squad of contenders that include former champions who want their belt back. However, overlooking Sterling in favor of future match-ups would prove to be a futile exercise.

The bantamweight division is spoilt for choice when it comes to talent and there are multiple meaningful fights to make. The general consensus is the belt will switch hands often simply based on the talent level of the contenders. However, Aljamain Sterling is firm in his resolve and is keen to etch an indomitable legacy at 135-pounds.

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Darryl Pinto

1647 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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