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Local Athletes

Following his epic victory at UFC 228, what/who’s next for Aljamain Sterling?

Now on a two-fight win streak, will the competition get steeper for the “Funk Master”?

Before UFC 228, many were wondering what the UFC was going to do with Aljamain Sterling. The “Funk Master” (16-3) needed a performance that wowed both the crowd and UFC brass. Luckily for him, that performance came at the expense of Cody Stamann.

On the UFC 228 prelims on FX, Sterling was using an effective takedown game throughout the bout. It wasn’t until the second round where Sterling truly impressed. He almost won the bout with a full nelson-like maneuver, rare in general in the MMA world. What he did after though was truly impressive. Sterling grabbed Stamman (17-2) by his left leg, pulled as tight as he could to stretch Stamman’s knee, and made the 28 year old tap out.

The move, known as the Suleov Stretch Kneebar, had only been done once before, so seeing Sterling perform the move was an incredible feat on its own. Let us forget the fact that the move was done again later that night, just to give Aljo his moment.

Breaking Stamann’s ten-fight win streak with a big move like that was impressive. With that, what is next for the New York native?

After the fight, Sterling called out Dominick Cruz, who hasn’t fought since December 2016. The former two-time Bantamweight Champion in Cruz (22-2) has a lot of suitable challengers, most notably Jimmie Rivera. Sterling, the number eight ranked bantamweight in the UFC rankings, could very well face Rivera (22-2), someone he hasn’t faced before. That fight could open up the door for a future contender for champion T.J. Dillashaw.

Another fight that can work could be a revenge fight against Marlon Moraes. If you recall, Moraes (21-5-1) knocked Sterling out with a vicious knee back at UFC Fight Night 123. A chance to redo that fight wouldn’t be the worst idea for Sterling.

At 29 years old, the future is bright for Aljamain Sterling. One more big win could secure him the title opportunity he always dreamed of. Only time will tell though if UFC brass truly believe that is the case as well.

Who should Aljamain Sterling face next?

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel is a Managing Editor at, and covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). He is also the lead New York Mets writer. When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a Sunday podcast, The Main Event.
Daniel Yanofsky
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