EXCLUSIVE with UFC’s Aljamain Sterling: A star on the rise

Harry Kettle

Within the 135 pound division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, there are several elite fighters that could be considered in the ‘world-class’ bracket. One such example, is also one of the company’s most promising stars in a long time, and that’s the #7 bantamweight ranked, Aljamain Sterling.

The 27-year-old has made quite the impression since bursting on the scene three years ago, with his start to life in the big time proving why there was so much hype behind the guy. As with any MMA fighter at this level, there’s been highs and lows, but in a lot of ways they’ve made Aljamain re-adjust and re-evaluate his game.

A 13-2 record is nothing to turn your nose up at, but when those two defeats are back-to-back split decisions it’s a little bit harder to take. Still, when you’re put into a position like that you either give up or keep moving forward – and Aljamain Sterling certainly falls into the latter category.

We spoke with The Funk Master about everything from his critics to online vlogging, and pretty much everything in between. Here’s a few snippets from what was a fascinating conversation, with the full interview being available above.

On Jon Jones’ recent behaviour:

“He’s just another human being – we all make mistakes. People tend to forget that which is kind of mind blowing to me.”

On being called ‘cocky’:

“Honestly, my take to that is those guys can really go f*** themselves. For people to want to shut down another man or female because they believe in themselves, that’s kind of unreal to me.”

“I had this conversation with another fighter, and they were talking about someone being ‘too cocky’. So I said: what makes them cocky? The fact that he’s thinking it or the fact that he’s saying it out loud? I’m pretty sure when you’re getting ready for your fight, you’re sitting there telling yourself you are the man – that’s not cocky.”

“You’re talking about all the hard work and effort you put into this; you give your life to this. We’re fighting to see who is the true alpha that day, that night, that moment.”

On facing either Garbrandt or Dillashaw:

“I think I match up with both guys well. I don’t know who would be the easier fight, I think they’re both elite in their own right. I’ll fight any one of them.”

This is the definition of a down to earth fighter who knows the direction he wants to go in, and the most impressive thing of all is that he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. Sterling may come across as arrogant to internet trolls out there, when in reality the New York native knows exactly what he wants to do and how to get there.

Can Aljamain get himself back into the W column? We’re going to find out on July 29th at UFC 214.