Aljamain Sterling Explains What It Felt Like Losing For The First Time


Aljamain Sterling admits that all the pre-fight hype he created heading into his showdown with Bryan Caraway was just to promote the bout.

But when it was all said and done, Sterling likely wished he could have taken it all back.

The then-unbeaten bantamweight suffered his first loss at the hands of Caraway, halting his momentum towards becoming UFC champion.

In a recent blog entry for, “Funk Master” let all his emotions out regarding the fight, his disappointment and getting back into the Octagon:

On May 29, 2016, I lost for the first time in my professional career via a split decision that saw my rival, Bryan Caraway, take away the victory. After the fight, I got up and I chucked my mouthpiece. I chucked it because I felt like I had the world by the nuts, and I blew it. I asked for this big push, for this opportunity. I asked for everything.

I put in so much effort in terms of the training, and after such a dominant first round, the way I had that adrenaline dump, especially in my arms… it felt like I was swinging two cinder blocks around.

It was pretty disheartening.

I couldn’t keep my hands up by my face, and although my feet were moving well, I didn’t want to keep running away and not engaging in the fight. I just told myself, “You’ve got to try to stay in this.”

After that first round, my arms got heavier. After the second round, my arms are even heavier. I made two critical mistakes by trying to get too fancy. I didn’t hear my coaches yelling, but I know they were. I don’t remember hearing anything at all, to be honest.

All I could think when the fight was over was that I’d had a great first round — I’d almost pulled it off. I was just so disappointed that I had everything I ever wanted and could ask for with that fight, and I came up short. I know I wasn’t blown out or beaten up. It was more about what I wasn’t able to do or what I didn’t do than anything else.

I’ve got to credit Bryan for his toughness and being able to capitalize on my mistakes and my over-eagerness to try to entertain too much, instead of doing what we’re supposed to do, which is to win.

When we were waiting for the decision, I’m clapping for him and I’m acknowledging his skill. In that moment I felt that he had won the fight. As they announced the scores, and it went to a split, I thought, maybe there’s a chance, but even if I won, I knew I would’ve hated winning like that.

The emotional dump I went through later that night… I was good for a while, but throughout the night my friends tried to help me keep it in perspective. My health, over everything else, that was the main thing, because I could’ve had the same ending as Almeida did, or like some of these other guys, ending up with a serious knockout.

I went to my afterparty with the intention of trying to have a good time and not dwell on the fight. One of my boys, he was pretty drunk, kept harping on me about me needing to do the things that he knew I was capable of doing. I kept telling him, “Bro, I get it,” but he kept at it, probably for a total of 30 minutes or more of the night. He just kept coming back and talking about it.

I was trying to walk away constantly. I kept telling him, “Hey, I’m not really in the mood to talk about this right now. I just want to enjoy the company and enjoy this down time.” But throughout the night, as I walked around, his words kind of stuck with me, “Get back on your shit. You’re too smart to let someone beat you at your own game.” The more I thought about it, the more it rubbed me the wrong way.

Later, about an hour before closing time, one of my other friends came over and then he starts talking about it — the same song and dance. It was like pulling out the right Jenga block, and in doing so it brought the tower down. It just overflowed inside me, and I couldn’t hold it together anymore. I legit broke down and just started babbling and crying inside of this club.

It was 3:30 in the morning and we were in a secluded area of the club, so there weren’t too many people around to witness it. I sat there like that for a good 20 minutes. Now, I’m a true believer that you should keep that sort of stuff behind closed doors. You don’t want to let people see you in that vulnerable state, but it got to me.

It hit me so hard. I know it’s a natural feeling, but I just didn’t think it was going to happen that night, in the club, of all places. I thought it would have been a delayed reaction, maybe a day or two down the road, but no, it had to be tonight. In the days following, I watched the fight, several times, and now that all that raw emotion was out, I could finally start looking at it with a clear head.

Latest MMA News

Roy Nelson

Roy Nelson Signs With Bellator, Targeted For Fall Debut

Roy Nelson is no longer with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). "Big Country" had been with the UFC since 2009. His bout with Alexander Volkov was...
Shannon Knapp

Shannon Knapp on UFC Adding Women’s Flyweights: ‘I Couldn’t be More Pleased’

Shannon Knapp isn't feeling slighted with the addition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) women's flyweight division. Knapp, who is the Invicta FC President, told...
Ben Askren

ONE Championship: Ben Askren Remains Unbeaten, Submits Agilan Thani

Over in Singapore Friday morning, former Bellator champion Ben Askren kept his unbeaten record intact, submitting Agilan Thani in the co-main event of ONE...

UFC 213: Jordan Mein’s Career Resurgence Continues vs. Belal Muhammad

Jordan Mein's post-retirement run inside the Octagon continues this July, as the 40-fight veteran takes on Belal Muhammad at UFC 213. Mein (29-11) has gone...

First Fight Signed for UFC 216 Between Gavin Tucker, Rick Glenn

The UFC's debut in Edmonton has an official bout, as Gavin Tucker welcomes Rick Glenn to Canada at UFC 216. Tucker (10-0) scored an upset...
Conor McGregor

Stephen Espinoza Wants Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather This Fall

If Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather throw down, the ideal timing for all parties involved would be early fall. The buzz surrounding a potential boxing...
Joaquim Silva

Joaquim Silva: ‘I Respect no One Once we Step Into The Octagon’

Joaquim Silva is all business when he competes. This Sunday night (May 28), Silva will do battle with Reza Madadi inside the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm,...
Conor McGregor

Dana White Claims Conor McGregor Called Tony Ferguson a Bum Who Doesn’t Deserve a...

If Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is to be believed, Conor McGregor blasted Tony Ferguson via text. Ferguson hasn't been shy in expressing...
Valerie Letourneau

Valerie Letourneau: ‘I Cannot be Mad at The UFC For Doing The Right Thing’

Valerie Letourneau is happy that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has finally added a women's flyweight division. Letourneau is now a member of the Bellator...

Oscar De La Hoya: Boxing Won’t Recover From McGregor vs. Mayweather

Plenty of people are excited for the possibility that Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather could fight inside the boxing ring - Oscar De La...