UFC Champ Aljamain Sterling Ripped for Not Being ‘Championship Caliber’

Aljamain Sterling

Getty Aljamain Sterling with Joe Rogan

Reigning UFC bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling is not “championship caliber,” according to his 135-pound rival TJ Dillashaw.

Sterling is coming off his first title defense, defeating Petr Yan via split decision earlier this month at UFC 273 on April 9. The “Funk Master” is riding a seven-fight win streak, which includes two victories over Yan, as well as a submission win over Cory Sandhagen.

However, Dillashaw shared a strong take on Sterling’s skillset during a recent interview with ESPN. Although the former bantamweight champion admitted that the Funk Master is “good,” he doesn’t see a “danger” in competing against Sterling inside the Octagon.

“He’s good, don’t get me wrong,” Dillashaw said via MMA Fighting. “He’s got some attributes. He wouldn’t be where he is without being good, but he’s definitely not champion caliber. The guys that I’ve fought already in the past [are] much better than he is, a lot more dangerous. There’s no danger fighting Sterling. Has he ever even knocked anyone out? I don’t know. I didn’t even look at his record.

“It’s a guy that you don’t have to be worried about. There’s no way he’s gonna be out-grappling me. His striking is straight pathetic, so yeah, I’m surprised that he is where he is, and stylistically it’s a great fight for me.”

Dillashaw Wants Sterling Next, Says the Funk Master Won’t ‘Be Champion for Much Longer’

Dillashaw is ranked No. 2 in the division, as per the official UFC rankings, and he wants to earn his bantamweight title back. And to do that, he plans to receive the next crack at Sterling.

After he had his hand raised at UFC 273, Sterling took the opportunity to call out Dillashaw as well.

During his ESPN interview, Dillashaw gave Sterling props for utilizing his ground game to neutralize Yan’s striking. But, he fully expects to end the Funk Master’s streak.

“I’m not too worried about Sterling,” Dillashaw said. “That callout, it’s a pretty easy fight for me, to be honest.

“I think it’s gonna be real good. I mean, congratulations to him, implementing his game plan in the fight. He showed some weaknesses in Yan, but stylistically that fight is perfect for me, so he can say anything he wants, but he ain’t gonna be champion for much longer.”

Sterling Responded to Dillashaw’s Comments, Takes Shot at Dillashaw’s PED Past

Dillashaw returned to fighting in July 2021 after serving a two-year suspension for testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug EPO.

Sterling took to Twitter to respond to Dillashaw’s comments. He ripped Dillashaw for his failed drug test and also called Henry Cejudo Dillashaw’s “daddy.” Prior to popping for EPO, Dillashaw fought Cejudo for the flyweight title in January 2019 and was finished via TKO in just north of 30 seconds.

“Who TF have you beaten that is soOoOoo much tougher than the guys I’ve faced?” Sterling tweeted. “This is Comedy Central. You should do stand up with Henry Cejudo. He’s your daddy, after he sonned your needled ass.”

Dillashaw fought Sandhagen last summer and won via split decision. He’s been out since with a knee injury that he suffered during the bout.

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