Aljamain Sterling is gearing up for a rematch – but he doesn’t think it’ll be against his archrival.

UFC bantamweight champion Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) was not medically cleared for his rematch against Petr Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi and Cory Sandhagen will replace him to face Yan for the interim bantamweight title on Oct. 30.

Having been in there with both men, Sterling predicts Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) puts Yan away early.

“Morning session in the books! I will continue to push the body and rehab my neck. Sandman smokes Cheatr Pan in 2 RDS. Epic rematch to follow in December or early 2022.

Let them compete for 2nd place while I make sure my nervous system fully heals. Make all the jokes you want, I’ve done a lot in this sport and I’m not done yet!


Sterling is experiencing lingering nerve issues from his recent neck surgery and did not want to enter his highly anticipated rematch with Yan compromised. After submitting Sandhagen in less than 90 seconds at UFC 250, Sterling earned a title shot against then-champion Yan, but the ending of the fight was a rather unfortunate one. Yan struck Sterling with an illegal knee while he was a downed opponent and Sterling was rendered unable to continue. As a result, Yan was disqualified and Sterling was crowned champion.

With Yan and Sandhagen set to square off for the interim title next month, the winner is expected to unify his belt with a familiar foe in Sterling next.


Twitter reacts to Aljamain Sterling’s DQ win to take title from Petr Yan at UFC 259


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