The Underrated Rise of Aljamain Sterling: From Controversial Wins to Dominant Displays
The Journey Begins
Aljamain Sterling, also known as “Funk Master,” has taken the mixed martial arts (MMA) world by storm with his electrifying performances and relentless pursuit of greatness. Despite facing controversy early in his career, Sterling has risen above it all to become one of the top bantamweight fighters in the world. Let’s take a closer look at his remarkable journey and the challenges he has overcome to cement his place among the elite in the sport.
Sterling’s professional MMA career began in 2011, and it didn’t take long for him to make a name for himself. He quickly amassed an impressive record of wins against tough opponents, showcasing his exceptional wrestling skills and dynamic striking abilities. However, it was during a fight in 2015 against Bryan Caraway that Sterling faced a controversial loss. Despite dominating the first two rounds, he was caught in a submission hold in the third round, resulting in a defeat that many felt was premature.
While some fighters may have been disheartened by such a setback, Sterling used it as fuel to propel himself forward. Determined to prove himself, he bounced back with a string of dominant victories. His performances caught the attention of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and he was offered a contract in 2016, marking a significant turning point in his career.
Rapid Ascent in the Bantamweight Division
Since joining the UFC, Sterling has shown why he is a force to be reckoned with in the bantamweight division. His signature blend of explosive athleticism, technical prowess, and relentless pressure has made him a nightmare for his opponents. Sterling’s ability to seamlessly transition between striking and grappling has kept his adversaries guessing, often leading to devastating finishes.
Highlights & Dominant Displays
One of Sterling’s most notable victories came in June 2020, when he faced off against Cory Sandhagen. The fight showcased Sterling’s well-rounded skill set, as he dominated his opponent with a mix of takedowns, ground control, and relentless ground-and-pound. The fight ended in the first round with Sterling securing a submission victory via a rear-naked choke, notching his first-ever UFC main event win and solidifying his position as a top contender in the division.
In addition to his impressive in-cage performances, Sterling has also demonstrated his dedication to promoting the sport outside of the octagon. He has become a vocal advocate for fighter rights and has actively pushed for increased fighter pay and better healthcare benefits, earning the respect and support of many within the MMA community.
Fighting for the Title
Sterling’s rapid ascent within the bantamweight division eventually led him to a title shot against the reigning champion, Petr Yan, at UFC 259 in March 2021. The highly anticipated matchup showcased Sterling’s ability to perform under pressure, as he faced one of the division’s most dangerous fighters. Unfortunately, the fight ended in controversy once again, this time due to an illegal knee strike thrown by Yan. The referee deemed it unintentional and deducted a point from Yan, but Sterling was unable to continue, resulting in a disqualification win for him and making him the new UFC Bantamweight Champion.
Respect and Recognition
While the controversial nature of his title win sparked debate and criticism, there is no denying Sterling’s talents and accomplishments. He has proved time and time again that he belongs among the elite fighters in the world. With his entertaining fighting style and undeniable skills, Sterling has captured the attention of fans and fellow fighters alike.
Not only has Sterling become a fan favorite, but he has also earned the respect and recognition of his peers. Many notable fighters, including legends like Daniel Cormier and Dominick Cruz, have praised his skills and potential. They see Sterling as a true threat in the bantamweight division, capable of taking on any challenger who dares to face him.
The Future of Aljamain Sterling
As Sterling continues his journey as the reigning bantamweight champion, one thing is clear – he is far from finished. With his impressive skill set, determination, and hunger for success, he will undoubtedly face more challenges and tough opponents in the future. Whether he’s defending his belt or aiming for even greater achievements, Sterling’s rise is far from over.
Aljamain Sterling’s journey from controversial wins to dominant displays is a testament to his resilience and unwavering belief in his abilities. Despite facing setbacks, he has consistently bounced back, proving that determination and hard work can overcome any obstacle. As he continues to etch his name in the history books of MMA, the rise of Aljamain Sterling is undoubtedly one that deserves recognition and appreciation.