Aljamain Sterling’s coach believes the UFC shows “favoritism” to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev: “That’s where I have a problem”

By Susan Cox - May 29, 2023

Aljamain Sterling’s coach believes the UFC is showing ‘favoritism’ to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

Aljamain Sterling, Ray Longo

Sterling, (23-3 MMA), is the current UFC bantamweight champion. ‘Funk Master’ last defeated Henry Cejudo (16-3 MMA) by split decision at UFC 288 earlier this month. The 33 year old Sterling is now scheduled to defend his title a second time against Sean O’Malley (16-1 MMA) in August of this year at UFC 292.

The timing for his next fight is less than ideal, as Aljamain Sterling is currently battling a bicep injury but will persevere in order to defeat ‘Sugar’ on August 19th at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ray Longo, Sterling’s coach, is speaking out concerning his fighter being forced into defending his title once again at UFC 292.

Longo spoke on the ‘Anik and Florian’ Podcast about the ongoing situation between the UFC and Aljamain Sterling saying:

“To me, in business and even down here, you know what people like, consistency. Like if I come in here, everybody pays $200 hundred a month, and then they’re walking around the gym, and someone says no, he only charges me $75. That’s not good, you know what I mean? It’s got to be consistent. That’s why I said we’re giving examples where It seems like favoritism almost, you know.” 

Continuing, Longo added (h/t MMANews):

“I think it’s the inconsistency of well (Islam) Makhachev hasn’t fought in a year, why are you forcing (Aljamain Sterling) to fight in two months like that’s where I have a problem. I like fairness, and I like the transparency of knowing everybody’s going the same thing. Like if Dana wanted to turn everybody around every two months, then that’s it, that’s what you signed up for. This is their rules. It’s their company. He built it up. He gets to call the shots, but to do one thing one time and not the other time, I think that’s where it gets a little sticky for me.”

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev (24-1 MMA) last fought in February of this year at UFC 284 defeating Alexander Volkanovski (25-2 MMA) via unanimous decision. The 31 year old does not have another title defence scheduled at this time. Longo was obviously mistaken in saying Makhachev had not fought in a year.

It is evident that Longo is unhappy that the UFC has scheduled a title fight so soon after Aljamain Sterling defeated Henry Cejudo. Also clear is that Longo believes there is ‘favoritism’ and inconsistencies in the way the UFC conducts business.

Do you agree with Ray Longo? Are you looking forward to Sterling vs O’Malley this summer?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!


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