Aljamain Sterling

More than a few people have wondered why Aljamain Sterling has yet to be officially booked for a showdown with Petr Yan. But “The Funkmaster” is confident he’s going to battle the new bantamweight champ soon.

Sterling says he’s “gotta get paid”

On account of the fact Sterling is riding a five-fight winning streak, and because he cruised through Cory Sandhagen in his last outing, the consensus is that he should be next for a title shot.

The only man who is ranked ahead of Sterling in the UFC’s bantamweight division is Marlon Moraes, but he fought Henry Cejudo for the belt last June and was stopped.

But, as this is being written, a fight between Yan and Sterling has yet to be signed. Further, when Dana White’s been asked about the title shot landscape at 135, he’s stopped short of outright declaring that Sterling’s next.

Recently Sterling spoke with MMA Junkie, and while discussing his title shot prospects, the 31-year-old said this.

“I don’t know. I think we’re just figuring out contract negotiations,” Sterling said. “Your boy’s gotta get paid. I gotta get paid. I put in a lot of work.”

“I am the next guy in line. I understand what (White is) saying, if you don’t want to fight, COVID and the whole thing. Don’t fight, you don’t want to risk it, whatever,” Sterling said.

“For me, I defeated COVID like 10 times already, so I’m ready to fight. Just getting in shape and hopefully it’s gonna be in December, first or second week.”

Considering the run Sterling’s been on, you would think his title shot’s wrapped up, unless contractual demands get in the way.

If Moraes goes out this Saturday and crushes Sandhagen, there could be calls for the UFC to give him another title shot. But, that doesn’t change the fact Sterling deserves it more, right now.

Sterling believes Yan respects his game

If you follow Yan, you know the rising, Russian star isn’t shy about trashing the abilities of opponents, and he and Sterling have traded verbal jabs in the past. But, ultimately, Sterling believes the new champ understands how good of a fighter the contender is.

“I think there’s still a respect factor there,” Sterling said. “I think he knows I’m a dangerous opponent, otherwise he wouldn’t be in Dagestan wrestling right now. … It’s gonna be a very interesting night.

I want to see if he can make up for that gap in the wrestling and grappling department in a couple of short months, so I think he’s taking me serious. I’m taking him serious, and I can’t wait for the opportunity.”

It’s a really, compelling match-up, no question. Hopefully, we get to see it happen in the not too distant future.

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