Aljamain Sterling’s rematch with former bantamweight champion Petr Yan won’t be happening as quickly was originally hoped as ‘The Funkmaster’ has to undergo neck surgery.
Sterling has been dealing with a neck issue for almost a decade and after being diagnosed with a herniated disc he’s going to have to undergo surgery in order to get it fixed, which will leave him out of action for quite some time.
“They told me I will heal in three months and can start doing cardio to get myself ready,” Sterling told ESPN. “They wouldn’t want to see me take a fight until they see everything has fused in my neck correctly. Five months would be ideal if I heal up really quick.”
The original fight between Sterling and Yan ended in controversy when the champion appeared to be taking control of the fight, only to then land an illegal knee to the head while his opponent was on the canvas, which left him unable to continue and resulted in Yan being disqualified.
As such, Sterling became the UFC’s new bantamweight champion in less than ideal circumstances, so it’s unfortunate that they won’t now have a chance to quickly run it back to establish once and for all who is the rightful titleholder.
Some fans have already called for Sterling to be stripped of the title due to his lengthy layoff, which provoked a heated response from the champ.
“For the dummies saying he’s out for 9 months and the losers who says he’s faking shit,” sterling wrote on Twitter. “See you in October Peanut Butter Pan. Sincerely your champ, suck it and life goes on.”