Aljamain Sterling acknowledges work to do before he could give Alexander Volkanovski ‘a run for his money’
UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is confident he could pose a stern challenge to featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski.
Sterling (23-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) defeated Henry Cejudo by split decision in the UFC 288 headliner and proceeded to call Sean O’Malley into the octagon for a faceoff. Featherweight champion Volkanovski scored the fight in favor of Sterling but wasn’t too impressed.
Prior to fighting Cejudo, Sterling had mapped out a two-fight plan that would lead to challenging Volkanovski (25-2 MMA, 12-1 UFC) for his 145-pound title. But after edging out Cejudo, Sterling admits he wasn’t quite ready to mention Volkanovski’s name.
“There’s a reason why I didn’t call him out, because it wasn’t the performance that I wanted to have to keep him on notice,” Sterling said on “The MMA Hour.” “Let me do this one in a better fashion. There’s a couple of technical things I did wrong and instantly I was like, ‘This is nowhere near the way I look in sparring, at all.’ Maybe it was because of the pressure Henry was bringing or maybe I just miscalculated some of the sequences more than I should have, and I was just overthinking it. … I’ve got to fix all these things because I can’t go there and fight Volk like that, because it would be a long, brutal night.
“Like, I’m not going to quit. But that’s going to be a brutal night, meaning I’m taking a trip to the hospital. So, I’m honest about that. But I do know, clean these things up, if I look the way I look in sparring, I give Volkanovski a run for his money. I give Yair Rodriguez a run for his money. But I wanna make sure not just giving them a run for their money, I wanna make sure when I get in there that I know and I believe that I could beat these guys. That’s the mentality you’ve got to have when you step in there.”
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O’Malley is hoping to get his shot at Sterling at UFC 292 on Aug. 19 in Boston, but Sterling said he’ll have to assess his body first before deciding if he’s fit enough to defend his title on that date.