Aljamain Sterling has re-signed with the UFC, and the undefeated bantamweight hopes to make a run towards the UFC Bantamweight Championship in 2016.
The 26-year-old Sterling became a free agent after his most recent victory, a December submission win over Johnny Eduardo, and he fielded offers from multiple organizations as he hoped to maximize his earnings into the new year. The oft-outspoken Sterling made his feelings on the pay from his last deal quite clear, and was looking for a significant bump from whomever was willing to offer that, and the UFC appears to have come through.
Sterling announced his decision in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, then posted about it on Instagram as well.
Sterling, fighting out of New York with the Serra-Longo team, entered the UFC in 2014 as an 8-0 prospect. He quickly impressed in a decision win over Cody Gibson, which he then followed up with a TKO over Hugo Viana in July of that year. His real breakout came in 2015, as he pulled off a highly impressive arm triangle choke from the bottom to submit longtime veteran Takeya Mizugaki before taking out Eduardo. Now 12-0, Sterling’s new deal is likely to bring with it increased attention and promotion from the organization.
Penick’s Analysis: Sterling remaining in the UFC is great for the UFC’s bantamweight roster, and hopefully the money he negotiated is at least close to what he was looking for from this new deal. The UFC should be featuring him significantly more than they have to date, and if they work things right he’s going to be a very viable challenger for that Bantamweight Title by late this year.
[Photo (c) Bill Streicher via USA Today Sports]
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