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4-3 in last 7 fights: Aljamain Sterling questions run of Israel Adesanya

LockerRoom Team
Calendar Icon18 September 2023

Former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is relentless in his pursuit of an immediate rematch against Sean O'Malley, following his shocking loss to O'Malley in August. Sterling had held the bantamweight title for two and a half years, defending it successfully three times before the fateful match that resulted in him losing the championship to "Suga" Sean O'Malley. O'Malley achieved a spectacular knockout victory over Sterling with a perfectly timed counter.

Sterling's desire for a rematch echoes the sentiment of several fighters who have sought immediate rematches in the UFC, most notably Israel Adesanya. In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Sterling brought up Adesanya's situation, where he lost twice during his title reign but is being considered for an instant rematch.

"If we're gonna talk about giving instant rematches," Sterling stated, "You give a guy who lost two fights in the same title reign – so he won the belt, he lost, beat the guy, and then came back and lost again to another guy. So it's like, how are you giving him another title shot? And then you tell me that I don't deserve it? That's all I'm saying."

Sterling emphasized that he is not criticizing Adesanya's potential rematch but questioning the criteria used to determine who gets a second chance at the title. He seeks justification for why he isn't in the running for an immediate rematch, particularly when someone with multiple losses is considered.

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The primary factor in these decisions often revolves around popularity and revenue generation. Israel Adesanya is undeniably one of the UFC's biggest stars, while Aljamain Sterling has not reached the same level of mainstream recognition. The promotion often follows the mantra, "If it makes dollars, it makes sense."

Moreover, Sterling has faced criticism from UFC management for being somewhat challenging to work with, regardless of its fairness. Dana White, the UFC president, has publicly expressed frustration with Sterling's back-and-forth on various issues and described him as someone who can't "get out of his own way."

Sterling's stance on a potential rematch with O'Malley appears conditional, with a financial incentive or additional perks required to motivate him to return to training. This may further complicate his chances of securing a rematch, especially as O'Malley has expressed interest in facing Marlon "Chito" Vera next, a fight that promises significant revenue potential.

In the UFC, matchmaking decisions often involve a complex blend of athletic merit, marketability, and promotional strategy. While Sterling continues to advocate for a rematch, the final decision will ultimately rest with the UFC and its considerations of what makes the most sense for the organization and its fighters.


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