Aljamain Sterling: Petr Yan Needs To Beat Me To Have ‘Credibility’ As Champ

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In one of three title fights on the UFC 259 PPV event, Aljamain Sterling is looking to hear “And New” against Petr Yan. However he thinks that the champ needs to beat him, in order to get respect from the fans.

It has been a long road for Sterling to make it to the bantamweight title shot. He had to grind for years and beat the best in the world to get to this point, and is riding a five-fight winning streak ahead of the bout.

After the need to reschedule, Aljo will be taking on champ Petr Yan, who interestingly enough, only has seven fights in the UFC altogether. Between this, and the fact that the won the title against someone who was 0-1 in the division, leaves people unsure of what to expect out of the champ.

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Petr Yan Is Not Respected As Champ

This bout is obviously extremely important for Aljamain Sterling. However he explained in a recent interview, that this fight may even be more important for Petr Yan.

The way he explained it, because Yan did not have to beat a top 5 opponent to be the champ, he has little respect from fans. So if he wants people to take him seriously as the champion, he will have to beat the Funkmaster, himself.

“I think Yan knows himself that he needs to beat someone who’s actually in the top five for people to take him serious as a champ,” Sterling said.

“He’s tough, he’s got serious skills, but credibility-wise, he hasn’t beaten anybody. Somehow he lead-frogged (Cory) Sandhagen and I for a title shot with (Jose) Aldo, and both guys, no one beat anyone in the top five. Fascinating.”

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How Aljamain Sterling Will Beat Petr Yan

As much as Aljamain Sterling thinks that Petr Yan can benefit from beating him, he has no plans to let that happen. He says that he thinks this fight favors him stylistically, as he outlined his plan to dethrone the champ.

“I don’t think he’s had guys attacking him constantly, like a Khabib style pressure, looking to get him to the ground, and that changes the tempo of the fight,” Sterling said.

“He can try to stop the takedown with punches as much as he wants. I just need one takedown. I can shoot 100 times, he can stop it 100 times. I get one takedown, that 101st takedown attempt I get him down on his back, it’s going to be a long night for that guy. That’s what I honestly, truly do believe.

“He’s good on the ground. I know he can hurt me. I know what the threats are. But at the end of the day he has to connect. I just need to get my hands locked and it’ll be a bad night for him.”

As far as what Yan will try to do, Sterling seems to think he has a good idea of what to expect. He says that Petr is a little more predictable with his attack, and while those skills are good, Aljo knows what to look for.

“You know what Yan is going to do. He does good switching his stances, going from that 1-2 1-2, from orthodox to southpaw. He does good going 1-2 2-1, the same combination he caught Urijah Faber with,” Sterling said.

“He seems vulnerable to calf kicks. He swings heavy. Sometimes when he throws, he gets himself off balance because he’s trying to take guys heads off, but those guys are standing right there in front of him.”

Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling is easily one of the more anticipated bouts on the super stacked UFC 259 card. It will be interesting to see how the fight plays out.

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Date: February 25, 2021

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