UFC Bantamweight Champ Aljamain Sterling Names Who He Wants Next

Sterling last fought at UFC 280 where he beat TJ Dillashaw.

Aljamain Sterling, the UFC bantamweight champion, has identified a candidate he believes most deserving of a hefty reward.

After successfully defending his championship twice, Sterling is feeling confident. Although he previously said he won’t be back in action until mid-2023, he isn’t very worried about who he could meet next.

“I’ll whoop all their asses no matter what,” Sterling told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

“That’s how I honestly feel. If I had to match make, I’m gonna go by who’s the No. 1 contender. I don’t believe in cutting the line. I believe in doing things the hard way, the way I had to do it. I didn’t get any handouts. I had to fight through everybody in the top five pretty much, top 10. There was no shortcuts to just jump the line and elevate to a title shot opportunity.

“Even when I had a No. 1 contender fight, I think you guys could remember the UFC wasn’t so keen in giving me that shot that I earned, and who knows why? I guess, maybe my style. It seems to be OK when Dagestanis do it, but it’s weird when I do it, I don’t know. It’s like this weird disconnect I’m trying to figure out. Maybe it’s because I’m not Dagestani. I got to shave my mustache, and I think things would be OK.”

Sterling beat T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280 by second-round TKO. Rising bantamweight star Sean O’Malley upset former champion, Petr Yan, by a split decision earlier in the evening. It was the previous bout.

Sterling believes O’Malley would be just what he needs to increase box office revenue, given his big fan following.

“If I had to pick somebody, give me the money fight,” Sterling said. “Whichever one that is – I think it’s personally O’Malley. And people may think, ‘Oh, you’re just going to take him down and steamroll him.’ I think I would do that to anybody.

“So, he could catch me the same way I could take him down, and it would be a short night for him. The same way he could catch me and it would be a short night for myself as well.”

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