In the build-up to the long-awaited bantamweight showdown between champion Petr Yan and challenger Aljamain Sterling, there’s been no shortage of trash talk.
However, things have gone a bit quieter on Sterling’s end in the eyes of Yan.
“He likes to talk a lot,” Yan told MMA Fighting. “He’s a big mouth and sometimes I just happen to answer his tweets. For me, he’s just another opponent, but I understand that he’s the challenger [and] he needs to attract attention that he needs so much. As I started training and preparing, recently he’s gone quiet. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened to his big mouth.
“Aljamain also has his teammate Merab [Dvalishvili]—Georgian judoken sambo fighter. My training partner Denis Lavrentyev is also a decorated judoka. If they have the guts, we can do it two on two: I’ll fight Sterling and my training partner Dennis can fight his guy Merab, and we’ll show them what the ‘No Mercy’ team is looking like. We’re gonna break them.
“Aljamain has already gone quiet. When he hears that, he’ll be gone for a while.”
A member of the UFC roster since 2014, Sterling has inevitably worked his way to the top of the division as he currently rides a strong five-fight winning streak. In that time, the 135-pound title changed hands from TJ Dillashaw to Henry Cejudo, and now, Russia’s Petr Yan.
Set to meet at UFC 259 on March 6, Yan and Sterling originally were booked for December’s UFC 256 event. Unfortunately for Yan, personal reasons led to his removal from the bout.
Although the two weren’t officially scheduled to fight until this past December, the bad blood has been boiling since Yan begun making his climb in the ranks.
Flawless in the UFC to this point, Yan has won his last 10 bouts. His most recent being his biggest as he claimed the vacant bantamweight title by TKOing Jose Aldo in the fifth round of their meeting at UFC 251.