Monday, December 5, 2022

Sterling Sets Sights On Bantamweight History At UFC 280

UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling is looking to add his name to the record books when he defends his gold at UFC 280.

Today, Sterling will make his second walk to the Octagon of 2022. A year after he was scheduled to do so at UFC 267, “Funk Master” will compete in front of an Abu Dhabi crowd as he puts his belt on the line against former titleholder TJ Dillashaw.

Today’s pay-per-view co-main event will mark the second time Sterling has looked to successfully retain his belt. The first came earlier this year when he outpointed rival Petr Yan after five rounds at UFC 273.

Sterling’s victory over Yan came over a year after his crowning, which came as the result of an illegal knee that the Russian landed. After 13 months of doubts and having his reign dismissed, the New York native legitimized his place atop the division.

While he’ll be looking to further do so in the UAE heat today, Sterling also has another motivation on his mind.

Sterling Hopes To Take More Than Dillashaw’s Title Hopes

While answering queries from fans and media during an open workout at the Longo-Weidman MMA gym, which can be seen in a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Sterling was asked about the main goals for his MMA career.

After noting that he hasn’t looked beyond 2022, Sterling outlined his current ambitions. More than just a second successful title defense, “Funk Master” is hoping to secure his place at the top of the ‘most wins in bantamweight history’ column.

Who currently occupies that throne? None other than TJ Dillashaw.

“I just wrote out my goals, literally last week, maybe a couple days ago. Year-end goals is what I’m calling them for 2022. Things that I want to see myself speak into existence,” Sterling said. “One of the things that’s most important to me is being the most winningest bantamweight of all time. I’m right there tied with TJ.

“How ironic is that? Beating him will put me ahead of everybody… If I get this win — when I get this win, cement my name in history (at the top) of one of those lists that’s hard to beat and hard to attain,” Sterling added. “They always say getting to the UFC is easy, it’s staying there that’s the hardest part.”

Interestingly, the official record books have Sterling one short of his upcoming opponent’s record. The champ does, however, boast a catchweight victory over Renan Barão. The 2017 bout was shifted from bantamweight to 140 pounds on late notice.

With that said, Sterling can still equal Dillashaw’s record at UFC 280, officially. Although the champ will likely see himself as the new leader in bantamweight wins should he dispatch Dillashaw on October 22.

Will Aljamain Sterling level the record today at UFC 280?