Yan beat Cory Sandhagen in a largely dominant performance in many eyes at UFC 267, earning a unanimous decision victory in a striking battle from start to finish. He lost the belt to Sterling at UFC 259 after landing an illegal knee late in the fight, resulting in a disqualification.
Yan and Sterling were supposed to meet at UFC 267 before Sterling pulled out due to lingering neck issues. With the win over Sandhagen, Yan will battle Sterling again at a later date, after rumors of Dillashaw getting the next title shot surged on social media.
During his UFC 267 post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White was blunt in stating that Sterling would be facing Yan next in a title unification bout. In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, White double-down on that stance but with an added twist.
“You do the Sterling fight, you get that over with, and then whoever wins would fight Dillashaw.”
Dillashaw seemed confident during a recent The MMA Hour appearance that he would be next in line for the title after defeating Sandhagen earlier this year, and that now appears to indeed be the plan in spite of Sterling/Yan being next. Dillashaw underwent knee surgery earlier this fall and is planning a UFC return for sometime next year.
Before the disqualification, Yan looked like he was going to coast to a victory against Sterling at UFC 259. He stopped Sterling’s grappling attacks while landing some powerful combinations with his signature boxing.
Dillashaw made his return to the Octagon against Sandhagen after a two-year suspension for PEDs. He was the UFC’s bantamweight champion and a flyweight title challenger against Henry Cejudo before his long hiatus from the Octagon.
The UFC’s bantamweight division continues to be arguably the most stacked group in the sport. Former undisputed champions Yan and Dillashaw will now look to grab Sterling’s throne atop the 135-pound division.
What are your thoughts on the state of the UFC’s bantamweight division?