Petr Yan has every intention of making the walk at UFC 267 – with or without the reigning champion on the opposite side of the cage.

Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) had an inkling UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) wouldn’t make it to their fight and doesn’t appear too surprised that Sterling did, indeed, have to withdraw. The champion recently underwent neck surgery and won’t be ready in time for their rematch on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi.

An interim title is being discussed, with Cory Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) as the frontrunner to replace Sterling. But Yan is issuing a challenge to the entire top 10 or anyone the UFC sees fit for the co-headliner spot against him.

“You all know what’s just happened to my fight,” Yan said in an Instagram post translated by RT Sport. “You all know that ‘Aljo’ just ran away like a sneaky coward. Here is what I would like to say: I am not going to sit and wait for him. I am going to fight on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi, and I would like to address the UFC. UFC, give me any fighter. Top five, top seven, top 10, anyone who deserves to fight for the belt, and I will get the job done. I’ll show you here who really is champ.”

Sterling captured the bantamweight title via disqualification at UFC 259 in March when Yan was penalized for an illegal knee to a grounded opponent. The loss marked Yan’s first octagon setback and put a quick end to his championship reign.

With Sandhagen, who’s coming off a razor-thin decision loss to former champion T.J. Dillashaw in July, alluding to accepting the fight, Yan may already have found a replacement.

UFC 267 takes place Oct. 30 at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The main card is expected to air on ABC after prelims on ESPN networks.


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


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