Russian bantamweight champ Yan reveals reasons for scrapped UFC 256 title fight with Sterling
Russian UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan has revealed the issues behind the removal of his maiden title defense against Aljamain Sterling from the UFC 256 card on December 12.
Yan was due to make his first defense of the 135lbs title against Sterling at the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, but three weeks out it was reported that the fight won't be happening on that date.
Speaking to fans via Instagram Live on Monday, Yan said various factors had been at play during his preparations to face American-Jamaican challenger Sterling.
"Everything's in force for the fight. It's going to be postponed for about a month and a half, but everything's in order," Yan said.
"There were different problems, with the flight, with the visa, during training I flew away for a visa deadline, lots of factors.
"We decided with the team to move everything to next year, perhaps the card will be more suitable...
"Everything is good, training continues."
Yan added that previously he would have been prepared to take more risks with his preparations, but that a fight of this magnitude deserved his total respect.
"In the past, I could fly out to battle without thinking about anything, I could take risks," he said.
"Now I need to do everything right, so that afterwards there won’t be any, ‘this wasn’t right, that wasn’t right’.”
The Siberian said that in any event he still envisions himself keeping hold of the 135lbs belt when he does meet Sterling.
“I see that I can beat him, it would be stupid not to believe in yourself. The fight will happen,” said the man known as ‘No Mercy’.
News filtered out on Sunday that the bout was being scrapped from the UFC 256 card, with initial reports simply stating it was due to “personal reasons” for the Siberian fighter.
The 27-year-old Russian won the vacant bantamweight crown by defeating Jose Aldo at UFC 251 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi back in July, stopping the Brazilian legend in the fifth round.
Yan is unbeaten in seven fights since joining the UFC in June of 2018.
‘Funk Master’ Sterling, 31, set up his title shot with an impressive first-round submission win over fellow contender Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 in June, and is on a five-fight hot streak.