Dillashaw reaggravated a pre-existing shoulder injury just minutes into the fight with Sterling. This led to him getting smothered on the ground, unable to defend himself until the fight was eventually stopped by referee Marc Goddard.
There was a lot of bad blood between Sterling and Dillashaw entering the fight. The two bantamweights traded barbs for months leading up to the event, including Sterling repeatedly bringing up Dillashaw’s checkered past.
The heat behind the matchup forced Sterling to have a pre-fight talk with Goddard to ensure that controversy wouldn’t surround the action.
Aljamain Sterling Wanted To ‘Go Out On His Shield’ Against TJ Dillashaw
During a recent interview with The MMA Hour, Sterling revealed what he told the referee just before the fight.
“I even told Marc Goddard in the back room I said bro, I talked a lot of shit coming into this fight, so if it’s looking bad for me, and I’m trying to stay in the fight, let me fight and go out on my shield, please,” Sterling said. “Because at the end of the day, I want to take my ass whopping like a man, and I’m not looking for an easy way out to say whatever and have excuses…let me go out there and go out and say what I’m gonna do and if I can’t do it, let the better man win and let him get his moment in the sun. If it’s to pound me out, it’s to pound me out. Pause.”
Sterling wants recognition as a fighter who never quits in the Octagon. In his only loss by finish, Marlon Moraes knocked him out unconscious in their 2017 matchup.
Sterling’s public perception remains complicated since he controversially earned the belt at UFC 259. After a disqualification win over Yan, he rubbed some fans and pundits the wrong way.
Sterling’s detractors are beginning to disperse following his latest win over Dillashaw. He hopes to continue to prove why he deserves respect as a hard-nosed competitor in the Octagon.
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