Aljamain Sterling lobbied long and hard to get the first crack at Petr Yan’s bantamweight title before and after winning his fifth consecutive fight. Sterling was filled with gratitude when the fight with Yan was announced, only for Yan to pull out of the December event weeks before it was intended to take place. At the time the news was reported, “personal reasons” was the only explanation provided. However, Sterling has some other reasons that came to him, which he claims were each debunked.
“There’s no real reasoning to what happened,” Sterling began in an interview with James Lynch. “First, we were told he was injured. Then, next thing you know, this guy’s posting videos of him working out. I’m like, OK, that’s clearly not what it is. And then, I hear there’s personal issues. I heard his newborn son had COVID or something like that. That wasn’t what the situation was, at least from what I’ve heard. And then the other one was the visa issue, which he posted a video of him being ‘cleared’ for his visa.
“So I’m like, in my head, it’s only a couple things. I’m not trying to poke any fingers, but maybe there’s a little cycling thing going on over there and maybe he missed a time slot. I think that’s how that stuff works to get off and be cleared in time. Or, maybe he didn’t feel like he had adequate enough training for this particular fight style and matchup.”
Aljamain Sterling’s Perception of Yan Changed
The fight between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan will now take place at UFC 259 on March 6. Though things started out as chirpy between the two, it still originally looked as though the interaction between the two leading up to their bout would be altogether respectful. But Sterling’s harsh assessment of Yan’s withdrawal from their fight makes the odds of such a build-up to be far less likely.
“Before, I gave him the benefit of the doubt,” Sterling said. “Now, I just think it’s kinda weak. But whatever, we’re gonna fight, and we’re gonna eventually figure it out.”
What’s your take on Aljamain Sterling’s thoughts on Petr Yan’s UFC 256 withdrawal?