‘You’re the actors!’ – Aljamain Sterling hits back at accusations he was acting injured to win UFC bantamweight title from Petr Yan via DQ
For the first time in UFC history, a champion was crowned via disqualification last weekend.
At UFC 259, Aljamain Sterling challenged Petr Yan for the UFC bantamweight and ended up taking the belt home after Yan landed an intentional illegal knee in the fourth round.
Sterling was behind on the scorecards at the time of the incident.
Yan was up 29-28 with two judges while Sterling led by the same margin with the other judge.
It’s not inconceivable that he could have won the fight, but Yan was probably winning the fourth round until the now infamous knee strike went down.
Serling had began to gas out from his early onslaught and many fans commented online he took the easy way out by accepting the DQ and taking the title.
“For the fighters that said I milked it, good for you guys,” Sterling said on his The Weekly Scraps Podcast. “Do you guys ever see me quit or look for a way out?
“Where a guy puts on a half-assed rear-naked choke, and it’s half on, and you look around and go, ‘OK, I can tap now. … I can quit now.’ You guys are the freaking softies.
“I fought my ass off the entire time, and I was not going to quit in that fight. I was going to take my licking or find a way to persevere or find a way to win like a man because that’s just what I do. I don’t have that quit in me.
“There’s no quit button whenever I’m in there. You guys might find it easy and talk about the Oscars and everything. You guys are the actors, and it might be a reflection or your own spirits.”
To reach the mountain top in such a way is hard for a fighter to take, especially when they can’t revel in the success and truly enjoy it.
That’s something Sterling is struggling with but he makes it clear this isn’t how he wanted to become the champion.
“I am now technically the new UFC champion of the world,” Sterling said. “Bittersweet, because it’s not the way I wanted to win, was a DQ by another man making an illegal move and being disqualified from the match.
“It’s not the way I wanted to win. Just so you guys know: I don’t feel like I am the champ because I obviously didn’t win this the way I wanted to win it.
“But rules are in place for a reason. It’s mind-boggling to me that a guy like Yan can get to his calibre, the highest of the highs to become a champion, and still make mistakes like that.”
Yan and Sterling are almost certain to rematch this year for the title and the new champion has to more motivated than ever to prove his doubters wrong.