For most fighters, the UFC title is the greatest achievement they can achieve in the sport of MMA. But it’s also the only guaranteed way that the UFC will actually open their pocketbooks. considering all of them It’s about the single greatest talent available in mixed martial arts.
Despite his retirement, Francis Ngannou was still able to hold the UFC Heavyweight Championship under an unheard-of contract with the PFL. Being a champion meant people had to take notice. Not just fans, but executives too. Which makes Aljamain Sterling’s plans for the future very strange.
Aljamain Sterling Almost Sure He’ll Relinquish Title After UFC 292
For many fans, Aljamen Sterling’s title win is still a surprise. The long-standing Serra-Longo product picked up gold for the first time thanks to a bizarre circumstance: DQ’s illicit knee. From champion Petr Yan afterwards, Sterling was unable to continue. Sterling followed that up with a narrow decision over Yan. Then it was a squeeze fight with TJ. The seriously injured Dillashaw The recent decision to part ways with Henry Cejudo was perhaps the most convincing performance in Sterling’s career title fight.
That said, the ‘Funk Master’ can still build a strong resume. Which he may add to UFC 292 in Boston this coming Saturday, August 19th. Win or lose after that, Sterling is out of championship time. Not because he planned to retire. But because he sees his future at 145 pounds.
“This will probably be my last fight at 135,” Sterling explained in a recent interview with MMA Hour (Transcript via MMA Fighting). “There is a 99 percent chance that this will be my last.
“If I win, I’m definitely out of here.”
“It’s Merab. [Dvalishvili]It’s time, ”he added. “And the second part is I’m a little overweight This much weight I walked about 165, 170. [pounds]. I think I can hold that frame better. And I think my conditioning and everything could be a little more. Back when I was a kid which I cut my hair less
“I’m 34 now, so I think I just want to get ahead of myself before it gets to me.”
Sterling’s longtime team-mate Dvalishvili. Positioned himself as a contender for the number one belt last March by beating Petr Yan himself, he and Sterling have made it clear for years that they will not face each other in captivity. Sterling’s surrender of the belt also seems surprisingly unsacrificing for him.
A Brief History of the Empty UFC Belt
If Sterling wins and follows his plan He will be the 16th time the sitting champion has volunteered to surrender his belt. However, even on that field his position would look unique.
First off, all those empty belts look more like fighters saving the UFC by needing to take off their titles instead. Notably, Jiri Prochazka and Jamahal Hill have both given up light heavyweight titles over the past 12 months. After being seriously injured outside the cage. And after talking to UFC brass Dominick Cruz, it took ~2 years to make a similar move. long term
Fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Henry Cejudo and Amanda Nunes all retired for retirement, while Daniel Cormier and Cejudo (again) relinquished the belt after winning their second title in the new division.
Fighters that fit Sterling’s profile include veteran fighters like Frank. Shamrock and Bas Rutten (who gave up the belt at a time when MMA didn’t exist at any level) and Jon Jones—who ruled LHW for almost a decade before deciding he wanted to. keep going
No fighter was willing to lose their title so their friends could take over.
naturally Combat sports are selfish games. Staff may be there to help train fighters. support them with support and coaching them through difficult times. But when they’re in a cage
He must first win the battle. But if Sterling gets his hand raised at UFC 292, he’s ready to break a new record in the UFC, a testament to friendship if there ever was one – assuming he actually walked his way and wasn’t just joking.
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