UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has revealed that this might be his last fight in the division if he beats Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 in Boston on Saturday night.
“This is more than likely my last fight at 135,” Sterling said on The MMA Hour show. “There’s a 99 percent chance it’s my last.
“If I win this, for sure, I’m out of here.”
Sterling went on to explain his reasoning behind wanting to leave the bantamweight title behind, explaining that it’s partly due to wanting to move on from having to do tough weight cuts, and also wanting to give his friend and teammate Merab Dvalishvili a chance to fight for the belt.
“It’s Merab’s time, man,” Sterling said. “And the second part of that is, I’m a little bit over cutting weight, this much weight. I walk around 165, 170 [pounds]. I think I could hold that frame relatively better, and I think my conditioning and everything could actually go up a little bit more, back to when I was younger, where I was cutting less.
“I’m 34 now, so I think I just wanna get ahead of it before it gets ahead of me.”
Dvalishvili is currently on a nine-fight winning streak, and Sterling has no doubt that he’ll take his place at the top of the division once he’s moved on.
“All these guys, they’re falling apart,” Sterling said of the rest of the division. “And the only other person is Merab, who’s a maniac that trains with one hand after just getting surgery, this guy is still training with one hand, sparring and grappling, it’s crazy. He’s going be the guy who’s leading that path.”