UFC Champ Aljamain Sterling’s Return Delayed Due To Neck Surgery

Chicago, IL, United States - June 7, 2019: Aljamain Sterling during weigh-in before her UFC 238 fight at United Center.


Aljamain Sterling’s first defense of the UFC bantamweight championship will be delayed.

According to Sterling, who is eager to return to the cage after winning the title over Petr Yan due to an illegal knee, the fight-ending foul aggravated an old injury that has required neck surgery.

When he recovers from the surgery, Sterling says the UFC wants to book a rematch with Yan.

Sterling was diagnosed with a herniated disc that requires surgery on his C6-C7 vertebrae, while also suffering from a partially torn bicep and left shoulder injury.

The champion could potentially return in October.

“They told me I will heal in three months, and can start doing cardio to get myself ready,” Sterling told ESPN.com.

“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. I’m excited. The faster I heal up, the faster I can fight. We’ll find out in the next three months, and get something on schedule.”


As for what the UFC should do while he is recovering from the operation, Sterling sees no reason for an interim belt — especially with the next fight for the title so clear.

“I can’t see a reason for an interim title fight when Yan won the belt in July [2020], was scheduled to fight me in December, and then had to push it to March,” Sterling said. “He had enough time to heal from whatever fake injury he had. If he got that luxury, I should have the luxury of addressing an injury I’ve put off for years. Why would they rush an interim title for the sake of it?”

Whenever the two men do have their rematch, it will be exciting to see what approach Sterling brings to the cage because he will have a huge chip on his shoulder.

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