Aljamain Sterling has finished much more than sufficient to earn a title shot.
Sterling (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) notched his fifth win in a row when he submitted Cory Sandhagen in just 90 seconds before this month at UFC 250. But even with his incredible streak, which also incorporates wins over the likes of Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz, Sterling will not be next in line for a shot at gold.
The UFC had previously decided that, immediately after Henry Cejudo vacated his belt, Petr Yan will confront Jose Aldo for the 135-pound title July 11 at UFC 251. So with the following title battle presently booked, Sterling’s head mentor, Ray Longo, thinks his star bantamweight contender should not take an additional battle until it’s for the belt.
“Over right here we thought he deserved … this could have been a title combat,” Longo told MMA Junkie on Sterling’s combat with Sandhagen. “You had two seriously very good men on fantastic winning streaks. Look, technically Aljo could be the uncrowned champ suitable now. Who the heck is aware? But we always believed that he must have been preventing for a title, and if this is what he experienced to do to get there, to have that 1 far more battle versus a man that is proper up there with him in the division, and that’s what he did.
“He couldn’t have had a far better result, and now there’s unquestionably no concern he acquired a title shot. … I wouldn’t indication a deal except if it’s for a title. I signify, he attained it. He justifies it, he performs hard, and which is what it is all about.”
Equally Longo and Matt Serra, who have been staples in Sterling’s corner, didn’t make the trip to Las Vegas. After some discussion, the New York natives assumed it was greatest to keep away from putting their wellness at chance for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic in purchase to secure their families.
So Longo experienced to nervously enjoy on your own. But luckily for him, Sterling was equipped to make rapid perform of a very worthy and expert Sandhagen.
“When he set that hook in, I was genuinely, actually delighted,” Longo mentioned. “Because Aljo on your again, all over again, I do not care if you are 135, 145, 155, 170, you do not want that child on your back again. He’s that superior. His MMA jiu-jitsu is off the hook, and that was just a sigh of relief for me.”