“This fight scares funk” – Aljamain Sterling wants to prove himself against Max Holloway next over Calvin Kattar

Aljamain Sterling instigates a third-person innuendo of being excited to fight Max Holloway, and says he is ready for it.


“This fight scares funk” – Aljamain Sterling wants to prove himself against Max Holloway next over Calvin Kattar

(Clockwise)Aljamain Sterling, Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar (via IMAGO)

Aljamain ‘Funk Master’ Sterling is reeling from a knockout defeat at UFC 292. Sean O’Malley defeated Sterling to win the bantamweight title. Now, after sitting out the loss, it seems he is fully committed to moving up to featherweight and fighting Max Holloway. With no bantamweight title rematch on the horizon, Sterling is keen on this course. As of late, he is also bound to a bout with Calvin Kattar.

Sterling has always proclaimed himself to be headfast about sniffing out opportunities, whenever. Prior to facing O’Malley, Aljamain Sterling had outlined plans to move up a division to challenge Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight gold; but that never came to fruition. With O’Malley making his maiden title defense against Marlon Vera, a chapter closes out. Now, he seems to do it again with Holloway. Taking to X, Sterling wrote:

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Some people avoid the biggest fights, I run towards them. We are not all the same. Max challenged Poirier for the Interim belt, and this feels like me challenging him for an Interim belt. This fight scares Funk, and that’s what excites Funk to bring the best version of Funk, and I believe Funk can get it done!

Sterling has long been hinting and providing teases of a shift to the 145lbs division. He has reportedly not been happy with the progression of things. Although he commended O’Malley’s performance, he was skeptical of his strategy. He, and his training partner Merab Dvalishvili, have been critical of O’Malley choosing #6 (Vera) instead of them.

At the upcoming UFC 299 pay-per-view (PPV) event in March, O’Malley makes his first 135lbs title defense in a rematch with divisional peer/rival Vera. Vera is but the only one skid in his career. Sterling has previously harked out at O’Malley for choosing a lower opponent but in vain. Now he too, is keen to move on.

Aljamain Sterling aims to move up to featherweight and face #1 Max Holloway

Aljamain Sterling dethroned Petr Yan for the UFC bantamweight title by disqualification in 2021. He had been a divisional long-stay ever since. Shift to 2023, however, he lost his title to Sean O’Malley. Before ascension to the bantamweight status, he last defeated Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250. Now, the fighter is shifting focus to the featherweight division. He is to square off against #7, Calvin Kattar. He has made the wishful aspiration of being able to have a fight next, at UFC 299, in March; under O’Malley’s title defense fight card.

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Aljamain Sterling, veers towards featherweight debut with Max Holloway than Calvin Kattar
Aljamain Sterling, veers towards featherweight debut with Max Holloway than Calvin Kattar (via IMAGO)

Previously, Sterling had also expressed interest in facing Alexander Volkanovski at featherweight. But with the latter chasing bigger two-division glory plans, he does not seem particularly interested in  ‘Funk Master’ back at the 145lbs level. Although facing Kattar in the near future, Sterling also wants to square-off with Max Holloway.

This has instigated concerns amongst fans of the sport, that Sterling does not care much for his capacity. The decision to jump weights is never acclimated lightly; especially in the case of Sterling who is fresh off a loss. Holloway, on the other hand, is undefeated at featherweight besides his trilogy with Volkanovski.

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