Yan’s jump from unranked to #7 on the publication’s P4P ladder comes after the Russian had UFC gold wrapped around his waist for the second time last month. Having lost the undisputed title to Sterling via disqualification at UFC 259, “No Mercy” was set to have his chance at revenge at UFC 267 on October 30.
After failing to receive medical clearance due to the lingering issues from the neck surgery he underwent earlier this year, the champion was forced to withdraw from his first defense. In his place, top contender Cory Sandhagen stepped in and the UFC created an interim belt. After a competitive five rounds inside Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena, Yan was awarded a unanimous decision win.
Sterling Blasts The Ranking Committee For His Exclusion
Many have pointed out that in the immediate aftermath of his interim championship crowning, the promotion seemed to treat Yan as an undisputed champion. Despite the 28-year-old clearly delivering an illegal knee to a downed Sterling in March, the fact “Funkmaster” was crowned off the back of it has meant he’s struggled to legitimize his place on the bantamweight throne in the eyes of the fans, and seemingly the UFC brass.
The recently updated ESPN P4P rankings is perhaps another example of that attitude towards his reign. Despite being champion, the ranking committee, which comprises of journalists Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi, Mike Coppinger, Carlos Legaspi, and Jeff Wagenheim, found no place for Sterling in the top 10.
Instead, the interim champ shot to #7 with his victory over “The Sandman.” That’s despite the fact Sterling submitted Sandhagen inside one-and-a-half minutes at UFC 250 last June. In a recent tweet, the 135-pound champ reminded the MMA community of that result, and took aim at ESPN, labeling the P4P list as a “joke.”
“Lmaoo him and TJ take 25min to win over an opponent I beat in 88 seconds. Somehow the “temporary champ” is ranked 7th The ranking committee is a joke!”
Having been unable to prove the superiority he believes he has over Yan at UFC 267, Sterling will look to do it when the pair meet in a unification fight next year. “Funkmaster” recently revealed he’s targeting a full recovery and his rematch with Yan within the first two months of 2022.
Would you have Aljamain Sterling above Petr Yan in your P4P list?