Aljamain Sterling backtracks on fighting undefeated featherweight despite showing interest; prefers Brian Ortega or Yair Rodriguez next

Aljamain Sterling backpedals on his wish to fight Movsar Evloev citing lack of advancement; wants Brian Ortega or Yair Rodriguez instead


Aljamain Sterling backtracks on fighting undefeated featherweight despite showing interest; prefers Brian Ortega or Yair Rodriguez next

Aljamain Sterling retracts his desire to face Movsar Evloev (via Imago)

Former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has a wide variety of options in the featherweight division. As such, he revealed his preferred choice of opponent for the next bout. Despite previously entertaining a fight with Movsar Evloev, Sterling is now backpedaling. This revelation came in a recent interview.

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Aljamian Sterling believed that a fight between him and Evloev didn’t make any sense. He revealed that this fight would be just a fight, and none of them would inch closer to a title shot. This comes after Sterling had shown interest in fighting the undefeated fighter.

I don't know if a fight between Movsar and myself makes any sense, in terms of if anyone advances in the title picture. I think it's just a fight, just to fight... I do not know about any possible fight with Movsar Evloev.
Aljamain Sterling via Kanpai Media

The undefeated Evloev has angled for a high-profile fight to solidify his claim for the title. At 18-0, the Russian phenom seemed worthy of a title shot opportunity. He is coming off a win over Arnold Allen. However, he remains down the pecking order to Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski. However, a win over a former champion like Sterling could propel Evloev to the title contention picture. 

In the unforgiving fight game, cherry-picking opponents is rarely advisable. Both of these fighters are elite wrestlers in the division. Sterling showcased his wrestling prowess in the fight against Calvin Kattar. Now it all depends on the UFC matchmakers if they want to see Evloev take on Sterling in the octagon.  

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Aljamain Sterling wants name-value opponents

Former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling appeared to have loftier goals in mind. Rather than granting an opportunity to rising contender Movsar Evloev, Sterling is chasing more high-profile matchups. There are other fighters in the division with more name value than Evloev.

Aljamain Sterling wants Yair Rodriguez or Brian Ortega
Aljamain Sterling wants Yair Rodriguez or Brian Ortega (via Imago/ MMA Weekly/ MMA Fighting)

In a recent interview, Sterling shut down rumors of facing the undefeated Evloev next. He cited the Russian’s lack of mainstream recognition as a key factor. The former champion revealed that he wanted to fight someone with a popular name.

There's not a lot of guys who know who [Movsar] is, and he's a very tough, really good fighter... when I asked my friends about Movsar they're like 'who?' I asked for [Brian] Ortega... Yair Rodriguez for name value, and to get closer to the title.
Aljamain Sterling via Kanpai Media

Sterling revealed his preference was to pursue bigger names first. He name-dropped featherweight standouts Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez as potential targets. Yair Rodriguez and Ortega recently fought, with the latter coming on top of the exchange via submission. As such, Ortega vs. Sterling makes sense. Nevertheless, fight fans remain in anticipation of Aljamain Sterling’s next challenge at featherweight.

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