Petr Yan thinks Aljamain Sterling is trying to a avoid a rematch after the latter won the UFC bantamweight title via disqualification at UFC 259.
Yan was winning the fight convincingly up until he landed an illegal knee on Sterling in the fourth round which resulted in a disqualification loss. Yan is expected to take on Sterling in an immediate rematch but, based on the latter’s post-fight comments, the former UFC bantamweight champion doesn’t think ‘Funk Master’ wants to run it back.
“One time he says one thing, different time he says different thing.” Yan told ESPN in a recent interview (h/t Middle Easy). “Then, the staredown with Cejudo. Everything tells me he doesn’t want to fight me again. He understands he lost this fight, he understand it’s going to happen again. I feel like he doesn’t want to fight me again.”
Yan is referring to Sterling’s post-fight comments in which he called for a title fight with former dual-division UFC champ Henry Cejudo in his first title defense.
Yan maintains that he landed the knee accidentally and claims he is ready to fight again in one to two month’s time.
“UFC already reached out to me and asked when I’m ready to fight again.” he said. “I already told them I’m ready, one month, two months time. Whenever they want to do it. Like I said I before, I was punished already for what I did. I already lost the belt and the PPV points and whatever comes with becoming a champion.
“Everything happened because the referee told the commission that it was intentional. But I didn’t throw it intentional. Now, the rematch is the only logic thing. The rematch has to happen next.”
The Russian is also willing to fight Cejudo after he avenges his loss to Sterling.
“As you remember, when I became [the] #1 contender for the belt is the time when Cejudo retired,” Yan added. “And now, the first day when I lost the belt, Cejudo started talking about coming back. He doesn’t want to fight me. For me, now the goal is to get the rematch and Cejudo can be next after that.”
Yan’s loss to Sterling snapped a 10-fight win streak but ‘No Mercy’ is still ranked #1 in the UFC bantamweight division.