UFC bantamweight Aljamain Sterling revealed how he suffered a “bad knockout” in training thanks to featherweight contender Zabit Magomedsharipov.
Sparring sessions sometimes tend to result in knockouts no matter which combat sport it is. But as they say, what happens in sparring stays in sparring, unless the two participants end up developing a rivalry and fighting each other.
So it’s all the more respectable that Sterling felt comfortable detailing how he was on the receiving end of a knockout when he was training with Magomedsharipov at Mark Henry’s gym back in 2017.
“I had one bad knockout in training as well, that was with Zabit,” Sterling said in an interview with theScore. “… That was after I lost to [Raphael] Assuncao, that was back in February 2017. Dude, I didn’t know who the f*ck he was. I didn’t know how big he was. Mark Henry was telling me not how light he was, he was like, ‘ah, he’s only about 170.’ Okay, I’m about 162, I can go with him today, I was on the lighter side but whatever.
“Yeah, I never knew who he was — the guy is a f*cking ninja. He comes out throwing all these side kicks, these hook kicks, then the second round, he throws a 360 round kick and I closed my eyes and ducked my head, and he kicks me, wraps around the back of my head. I didn’t go out but I was definitely f*cked up. I didn’t see the kicking coming and it landed flush on the back of my neck. I got it on video, it’s pretty nasty. Hopefully Mark Henry leaves that in the archives and never puts it out!”
Although Sterling would actually go on to suffer his first and only knockout loss later that year to Marlon Moraes, he has learned from it and has been on a tear of late.
Currently on a four-fight winning streak, “Funk Master” meets Cory Sandhagen in a pivotal bantamweight encounter at UFC 250 this weekend with the winner likely to stake a claim at the next title shot.