UFC 292: Who is Aljamain Sterling? Background, career and record
As Aljamain Sterling gets set to defend his bantamweight belt against Sean O’Malley, we take a look at the meteoric rise of Sterling.
In the dynamic world of mixed martial arts, few names shine as brightly as Aljamain Sterling. Born on July 31, 1989 in New York, Sterling’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming a prominent fighter in the UFC has captured the attention of fans worldwide. With his 26-3 record including 23 knockouts, Sterling has solidified his position as a force to be reckoned with in the bantamweight division.
Background and Early Career
Hailing from Uniondale, New York, Aljamain Sterling comes from immigrant Jamaican stock and was introduced to combat sports through high school wrestling. This foundation would go on to lay the groundwork for his transition into MMA. Continuing his wrestling career at Cortland State University, Sterling showcased his discipline and dedication, traits that would later define his success in the octagon.
Climbing the Ranks in the UFC
Aljamain Sterling made his professional MMA debut in 2011, quickly amassing victories and showcasing his versatile skill set. His striking accuracy, grappling prowess, and ability to adapt to various opponents led him to sign with the UFC in 2014. Throughout his UFC tenure, Sterling faced a series of tough opponents, which allowed him to refine his technique and elevate his fighting game.
The Bantamweight Contender
Competing in the bantamweight division, Sterling’s dynamic fighting style and commitment to improvement earned him a spot among the top contenders. With a record that boasts an impressive mix of wins by submission, knockout, and decision, Sterling’s versatility has kept his adversaries on their toes. His notable victories over established fighters have solidified his position as a contender for the bantamweight championship.
The defining moment of Aljamain Sterling’s career came on March 6, 2021, at UFC 259, when he faced off against Petr Yan for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. The highly anticipated matchup showcased Sterling’s resilience and determination. However, the title bout ended in controversy as Sterling was declared the winner via disqualification, the only champion in UFC to have won the title in this manner, due to an illegal knee strike by Yan.
Aljamain Sterling successfully defended his title against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280, getting the TKO in the second round. Henry Cejudo had a shot at the title at UFC 288, but the best he could do was a to get 2 of the 23 MMA media outlets’ decision, which saw Sterling hang on to his belt.
Sterling will face perhaps his biggest challenge yet when he steps into the ring against O’Malley. If he can pull off another title defense, Sterling will cement his legacy as a true MMA champion.