On Saturday, Yan defeated Cory Sandhagen in a thrilling back-and-forth war at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. The Russian reminded everyone why he was once undisputed champ after putting on an impressive display of slick boxing to earn a 49-46 unanimous decision victory.
Yan’s victory now sets up a long-awaited matchup with bantamweight champ Sterling, who he was slated to meet at UFC 267 before injury forced the American out. The duo’s much publicized, increasingly bitter rivalry has loomed large over the 135-pound division since Sterling controversially dethroned Yan in their March title bout.
Whether it’s Yan calling Sterling a “chicken,” or Sterling vowing to “slap the f*ck” out of Yan, there’s been no love lost between the pair in recent months, and it appears no end to their heated rivalry.
Sterling Offers Praise For Yan And Sandhagen On Twitter
However, following Yan’s victory, Sterling seemed to have placed their beef aside for just a moment. Taking to Twitter, the “Funk Master” offered his nemesis some rare praise—albeit while also taking a subtle jab.
“Brilliant fight men! I have it 48-47 for Yan. You earned this first ass whooping! Rest up and enjoy the work you did. I’ll see you soon!” tweeted Aljamain.
While impressed by both men’s performance, Sterling believes his rematch with Yan will look far different, and presumably, more one-sided in his favor.
“Going to be a very different fight in 2022.”
Finally, Sterling offered some condescending praise of his bantamweight peers, insisting that theirs is truly the UFC’s premier division.
“Daddy was very proud of his kids today! Best division in the UFC!”
Do you think Aljamain Sterling will retain his title against Petr Yan?