UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling shares the one opponent he would “like to avoid” at featherweight

By Harry Kettle - May 11, 2023

UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has named the featherweight he would like to avoid if he moves up to 145 pounds.

Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan, UFC 273

Last weekend, Aljamain Sterling defeated Henry Cejudo to retain the UFC bantamweight championship. In doing so, he set himself up for what should be a blockbuster showdown with Sean O’Malley.

However, if he gets past ‘Suga’, Sterling has made it clear that he wants to go up to featherweight. Alexander Volkanovski has some thoughts on that, as you can probably imagine.

‘Funk Master’, meanwhile, already has a pretty clear game plan in mind. He wants to take on ‘The Great’ and solidify himself as one of the best fighters of his generation.

In a recent interview, though, he did make it known that there’s one person in the division that he isn’t interested in fighting.

“I look at some of these other guys at 145 and I train with them, I feel good about it… I think I’ve got the room to fill out, I have the reach, and (can) get big,” Sterling said. “Of course, when I get to the top of the mountain with those guys, it gets a little bit different; taller guys… There’s a lot of good guys there.”

Sterling’s featherweight problem

“Of course, you’ve got another Georgian hammer in Ilia Topuria. I know him and Merab are really good friends. That’s one I’d like to avoid, for the sake of that friendship that they have. And we’ve hung out a couple times, (Topuria is a) really cool guy.”

Quotes via MMA News

Aljamain Sterling is an underrated champion, for sure – whereas Ilia Topuria is certainly someone on the rise.

Would you be interested in seeing Aljamain Sterling move up to featherweight? Do you believe he would find success there? Let us know in the comments, BJPENN Nation!


Aljamain Sterling Ilia Topuria UFC