After suffering back to back losses, Aljamain Sterling outworked Augusto Mendes in Kansas City to get back on the winning track. Currently ranked at number 8 in the bantamweight division, he is eyeing Iuri Alcantara for a July match-up.
He was in Nashville this past weekend watching his teammate Al Iaquinta score a brutal first round KO over veteran Diego Sanchez. He also had his eyes on a pivotal fight in the bantamweight division between John Dodson and Eddie Wineland.
Initially targeting the winner (Dodson) of that fight as his next opponent, Sterling, like many of the crowd that night felt the fight was a little lackluster and immediately lost interest.
“I was interested in the Wineland-Dodson fight winner but after this weekend watching that fight, it made me realize how boring of a fight stylistically that would be,” Sterling explained. “It’s not a fun fight and if I have to take that fight I’ll take it but it wouldn’t be an entertaining fight whatsoever. It’s going to be two guys counterstriking looking at each other for 15 minutes and I don’t think fans want to watch that.”
Instead, he has his eyes on 12th ranked Iuri Alcantara. Despite the fact that a win over Iuri would not move him up the ranks, he feels like he’s a credible and tough test for him at this point in his career.
“I’d like to fight Iuri Alcantara, I think that would be a good match up,” Sterling said. “He’s got a good name, he’s fought Urijah Faber, he’s fought the who’s who of the division and I think it’s another tough fight. He’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace and he’s got good stand up. He’s got a good power left hand and I think that would be a fun fight. It’ll be a fight where he’s actually coming to fight not me trying to chase a guy around.”
The UFC is heading to Long Island, New York for the first time in the company’s history. After years of battling to get MMA legalized in New York, a couple of strange incidents have left most fighters a little hesitant to compete in the state. Former champion and teammate of Sterling, Chris Weidman, suffered a very controversial TKO loss to Gegard Mousasi in Buffalo which left many New York natives discouraged.
While everyone is expecting Serra-Longo to fill up the Long Island card, Sterling, who was pulled off his UFC Albany fight versus Assuncao in December by the commission for being “medically unfit”, isn’t ready to witness another mishap.
“Yeah I just don’t want matchmakers to book me for the Coliseum and next thing you know the commission does something last minute,” Sterling explained. “I was approved all way until the week before the fight in Albany and the New York State Commission decided to tell me that I can’t fight out there which was devastating for me.”
Gian Villante is currently booked on the Long Island card and it seems unlikely that we will see Weidman, Iaquinta or Sterling on that card. Having grown up right next to the Nassau Coliseum, Sterling is positive that his friends and family would have easily filled up the stands. Although Sterling isn’t completely ruling out fighting in Long Island, he’s targeting the big fight weekend in Vegas.
“I actually grew up like 2 and half blocks away from the Coliseum, literally walking distance right behind the Starbucks,” Sterling said. “I went to school in Uniondale so it’s disheartening but again it’s nothing I can do about it. If I could fight there, I’d do it 100%. Right now I’m heading for International Fight Week in July. Vegas is a fun time so I don’t mind coming back out there to fight.”