After defending his bantamweight title a divisional record three times, Sterling (23-4 MMA, 15-4 UFC) was dethroned by Sean O’Malley in a knockout loss at UFC 292. White and Sterling haven’t always been on the same page, with the UFC boss most recently criticizing teammates Sterling and Merab for refusing to fight each other.
Despite that, White said he gets along with Sterling just fine but can’t help but question some of the things he says in public.
“Here’s the thing with Sterling,” White told MMA Junkie and other reporters. “I’ll tell you my personal experience: When you sit down with Aljamain one on one and whatever, he’s a great guy. He’s a great kid, very likable and everything else. Decisions he makes in public and things that he says in public do not make him the most popular guy on the roster.
“It’s the weirdest thing, I don’t know if it’s self-sabotage or what it is. He always seems to say the wrong things. In times when, if he even said remotely close to the right things, people would love him. Kid’s a good-looking kid; he’s got a great physique. When you sit down with him one on one, he’s a good kid. But in public, he just can’t help himself.”
In conclusion, White did have some nice things to say about Sterling’s title reign.
“He’s done pretty well without my advice,” White said. “I mean, look at what the kid’s accomplished. He’s made a lot of money, and you know how I feel about the whole, ‘Me and Merab are friends’ bullsh*t, but that’s it. I don’t dislike Aljo. Like I said, one on one, he’s a good dude.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for DWCS 61.