UFC champ sounds grim warning to Russian Yan
Despite a long absence since he won by disqualification while losing on the scorecards to Petr Yan, UFC bantamweight title holder Aljamain Sterling claims he cannot wait to face the interim champ if they meet again this year.
The rivals have been involved in a procession of acrimonious, threat-laden exchanges since Sterling controversially beat Yan in the fourth round of their title bout at UFC 259 in March.
With 'No Mercy' ahead on points, Yan was adjudged to have landed an illegal knee which resulted in the first defeat of his impressive UFC career.
While many have accused Sterling of play-acting, the American has now accompanied a photo of the pair facing off by stating that there is "unfinished business" between the pair – with a sequel in 2021 shelved because he needed neck surgery.
"Those closest to me know that 2022 couldn’t come fast enough for me," said Sterling, who Yan has accused of dodging him. "Ready to end this man and remove all doubt."
Sterling admitted last week that he "had an off night against a tough dude" in his first brawl with Yan.
"We’re going to run it back, so that’s all that matters. I’m hoping it’s going to be on that March card," he added in reference to UFC 272 on March 5 in Nevada.
"We’ll see what happens. I know [matchmaker] Sean [Shelby] said February, March, April. April’s just so far. March would be ideal. I’m already gearing up.
Happy Holidays everyone! Get them goals ready! pic.twitter.com/3nEGjnVyzA— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 31, 2021
"I’m just excited to get back out there and compete. It’s going to be a good one and the fans are going to get their money’s worth, and that’s all that matters to me. I want to make money and I want to just shut these clowns up."
Sterling backed his claims of returning to training by sharing a selfie of a beefed up 156lbs physique which would find him in the lightweight division.
Yan won the interim bantamweight title by beating Cory Sandhagen in a compelling scrap at UFC 267 in October.
Friendly reminder that Alga is my bitch. This time I will destroy this little whiner even more impressive.— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) December 26, 2021
The provocative 28-year-old used his Twitter account to give fight fans a "friendly reminder" on December 26 that "Alga [Sterling] is my b*tch."
"This time I will destroy this little whiner even more impressive," he vowed, portraying himself training with Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket while waiting for the date to be finalized.
Should the Sterling meeting fail to materialize, another possible opponent who Yan has expressed a desire to face is the legendary TJ Dillashaw, who beat Sandhagen in July.