Monday, December 5, 2022

Archives: Aljamain Sterling Considering Hiatus From UFC Career (2015)

On this day seven years ago, Aljamain Sterling considered walking away from the sport of MMA indefinitely.

In the following article from 2015, we revisit Aljamain Sterling’s deliberation of changing career paths after not being able to find an opponent. As it happens, Sterling isn’t the only fighter who considered retirement after going without an opponent for too long.

Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman once said to also consider walking away from the sport after being unable to find opponents during his climb up the ladder. And featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov actually did walk away, with his lack of active booking being one of the reasons behind his decisions.

Ultimately, it all worked out for Sterling. Seven years later, not only is his MMA career off and thriving, but he is, in fact recognized as arguably the best bantamweight in the world as the reigning UFC bantamweight champion.

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Next month, Aljamain Sterling’s MMA career will continue its path through the spotlight as the Funk Master defends the bantamweight title for a second time against former divisional champ T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280.

In contrast to the following article where he considered walking away, Sterling now continues to make future plans. For instance, the Funk Master recently expressed whom he’d like to face next after his bout with Dillashaw next month.

The following article is presented to you in its original, unaltered form, courtesy of The MMA News Archives.

On This Day Seven Years Ago…

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 24, 2015, 3:30 PM]

Headline: Aljamain Sterling Considering Hiatus From UFC Career

Author: David Bixenspan

Aljamain Sterling staked his claim as an elite bantamweight with his submission win over long time top 135 pound fighter Takeya Mizugaki over five months ago at UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold.

The number six contender in the official UFC rankings has been game to take another fight for months, but matchmaker Sean Shelby hasn’t been able to find anyone who would sign to fight him.

Specifically, Brian Caraway, ranked number seven, turned the fight down. He wants to fight on December 19th in Orlando, but nobody is willing to face him. That all led to this:

https://instagram.com/p/7_dsj8PiVo/

Intentionally bad Photoshop and memetic sans serif font aside, Sterling isn’t joking, which he explained to MMAFighting’s Marc Raimondi. He’s considering various options, including going back to school for a masters in health when the new semester starts in January and taking a teaching job at a local high school. 

“If they can’t guarantee me something sooner, barring that I don’t get injured, I’m gonna have to go back to school and just do what’s best for me,” Sterling told MMA Fighting. “If that includes taking a layoff, then I guess I’ve gotta take a layoff and actually do something positive with it.”

Sterling expressed concern to Raimondi that his style, focused on wrestling and grappling. He pointed out how he came into the Mizugaki fight unranked, dominated a veteran ranked just outside the top five, submitted him with the first arm triangle from the bottom in a UFC fight since 1999…and didn’t get a performance bonus, official or otherwise. 

“To me, it was like a slap in the face. I feel like my style is not what they think people want to see, which is going out there just swinging for the fences and hoping to get a knockdown. I felt like I did a beautiful display of jiu-jitsu and showed how strategically to break down somebody from the feet, control them and make them look like they never fought before.”

He’s holding out some hope that Michael McDonald or Raphael Assuncao, both top contenders returning from long injury layoffs, might take a fight with him in December. If not, he’s not getting enough fights t make this a career.

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