Ahead of the April 9 pay-per-view, it’s safe to say that the bantamweight champion had his doubters. From the way he won the title to his lengthy layoff after it, Sterling was heavily criticized and not many gave “Funk Master” a chance of successfully defending his title in his rematch with Petr Yan in Florida.
After he proved a large number of fans, pundits, and fellow fighters wrong, Sterling embarked on an ‘I told you so tour’. That venture brought him to the doorstep of Whittaker, who, along with compatriot Tai Tuivasa, had put the champ on blast for the way that he handled his disqualification victory last March.
After inviting the former middleweight king to complete an “Aljamain Sterling Apology Form” on Twitter, Whittaker responded by admitting that he had egg on his face following Sterling’s impressive performance.
Now, a few weeks beyond Sterling’s win, Whittaker has revealed that the champ’s triumph did more than just change his perspective, it secured him a seat on the “Funk Master” bandwagon.
Whittaker: Sterling Surprised Me
During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, Whittaker admitted his surprise at the way in which Sterling was able to shut down the heavily-favoured Yan inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Having witnessed the upset, the Aussie says he’s not only behind Sterling’s reign, but he’s leading the support for it.
“Let me tell ya, I’m leading the Aljamain f*cking bandwagon now. I’m driving the carriage [LAUGHS], no worries,” joked Whittaker. “He surprised me. I didn’t think he could perform like that after the first fight. Like I mentioned in the interview, I understand all his reasoning and why he did things, and I’m sure it left a bad taste in his mouth as well.
“Yeah, I thought he did really well. I thought he did really, really well. I loved his work, and yeah, I’ve changed my opinion,” admitted Whittaker. “That’s the beautiful thing about life, you can do that. And he changed my opinion.”
As well as the UFC 273 performance, Whittaker went on to praise Sterling for the way in which he responded to his doubters and handled his post-fight exchanges, including the tweets that he shared with “The Reaper.”
Whittaker suggested that the champ’s sense of humor has only further added to the change of heart he’s had on Sterling.
“To be honest, the way he handled that exchange, it was quite witty, and I like the way he did it. It just made me like him more,” concluded Whittaker.
Have you joined Robert Whittaker on the Aljamain Sterling bandwagon?