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Aljamain Sterling

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Aljamain Sterling
Alijamain Sterling at UFC 228.jpg
Aljamain Sterling at UFC 228
BornAljamain Antoine Sterling[1]
(1989-07-31) July 31, 1989 (age 32)
Uniondale, New York, U.S.
Other namesFunk Master
ResidenceMassapequa, New York, U.S.[2]
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)
Reach71 in (180 cm)[3]
TeamSerra-Longo Fight Team
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Matt Serra[5]
WrestlingNCAA Division III Wrestling[6]
Years active2010–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout2
By submission8
By decision9
By knockout1
By decision2
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Aljamain Antoine Sterling[1] (born July 31, 1989) is an American mixed martial artist. He is signed with the UFC, fighting in its bantamweight division and is the current UFC Bantamweight Champion[7] He was also the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships bantamweight Champion.


Sterling was born in 1989 in Uniondale, New York to Jamaican parents, Cleveland and Sophie Sterling[2][8] He grew up with seven full siblings and at least 12 half-siblings.[2] To stay away from the prevalent gang life in which some of his brothers joined, Sterling started wrestling at Uniondale High School in 2004.[9][2]

Unable to catch up with the grades to reach Division I, Sterling opted to enroll at Morrisville State College where he continued wrestling.[2] During the time in Morrisville, Sterling developed an interest in MMA when he met Jon Jones and trained on the wrestling team.[10] After the freshman year, Sterling transferred to Cortland and eventually became a two-time NCAA Division III All-American with a record of 87–27.[11][2] Sterling graduated from Cortland with a bachelor's degree in physical education.[12] After years of absence in wrestling competition, Sterling wrestled and grappled two-time NCAA DI wrestling All-American and sophomore from Penn State Roman Bravo-Young, on December 22, 2020, at the NLWC IV.[13] The rules consisted on six minutes of freestyle wrestling and three minutes of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.[14] Sterling was defeated by points in the first match but tapped out Bravo-Young in the second one.[15]

He earned the nickname “The Funk Master” from his unorthodox wrestling style.[12]

Mixed martial arts career

While studying in Cortland, Sterling was invited by Jones to try out mixed martial arts at his gym of that time, The BombSquad in Ithaca, New York.[2] A few fights into his professional career, Sterling left The BombSquad and started training at Serra-Longo Fight Team.[2]

Early career

Sterling started his amateur career in 2009 with a submission win. Prior to turning pro Sterling compiled a 6-1 amateur record with the lone loss coming by way of split decision, he would eventually avenge this loss. Sterling captured the Raging Wolf amateur Bantamweight Championship and Extreme FC amateur Featherweight Championship along the way.[16]

Sterling started his professional career 2-0, before earning a shot at the ROC Bantamweight Championship. He would go on to defeat Claudio Ledesma by split decision to capture the title.[17] Although this would turn out to be his last bout under the Ring of Combat organization, as he would later sign with Cage Fury Fighting Championships.

Sterling made his CFFC debut in a Featherweight bout against Evan Chmieleski. He won the fight by TKO with just two seconds left in the first round. This victory earned him a shot at the vacant CFFC Bantamweight Championship. Sterling defeated Sean Santella via unanimous decision to capture his second professional title. He would go on to defend the CFFC Bantamweight Championship on three occasions. Sterling finished all three of his title defenses by rear naked choke, which earned him the opportunity to compete in the UFC.

Ultimate Fighting Championship


Sterling was scheduled to make his UFC debut at UFC 170 against Lucas Martins, replacing an injured Bryan Caraway.[18] However Martins was eventually injured as well and replaced by fellow UFC newcomer Cody Gibson.[19] Sterling won the fight via unanimous decision.[20]

Sterling made his second UFC appearance on July 16, 2014, at UFC Fight Night 45 against Hugo Viana.[21] After controlling the majority of the fight Sterling landed a barrage of punches from the mount position causing the referee to wave off the fight late in the third round.

Sterling was expected to face Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine on October 4, 2014.[22] However, Sterling pulled out of the bout and was replaced by Rob Font.[23]

Following a quick recovery, Sterling was promptly rebooked and was expected to face Frankie Saenz on November 8, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 55.[24] However, Saenz was forced to withdraw from the bout and in turn promotional newcomer Michael Imperato was briefly linked as a replacement.[25] However, his signing was quickly rescinded[26] and as a result, Sterling was pulled from the event altogether.[27]


Sterling was expected to face Manvel Gamburyan on April 18, 2015 at UFC on Fox 15.[28] However, Gamburyan pulled out of the bout citing injury and was replaced by Takeya Mizugaki.[29] Sterling won the fight by submission in the third round.

Sterling faced Johnny Eduardo on December 10, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 80.[30] He won the fight via submission in the second round.[31]


Sterling next faced Bryan Caraway on May 29, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 88.[32] Despite dominating the first round, Sterling began to tire and would go on to lose the following two rounds and lose via split decision.[33]

Sterling was expected to face Raphael Assunção on December 9, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 102.[34] However, Sterling pulled out of the fight on November 23 citing injury.[35] Assunção was subsequently removed from the card.[36]


The bout with Assunção was rescheduled and took place on January 28, 2017 at UFC on Fox 23.[37] Sterling lost the fight via split decision.[38]

Sterling faced Augusto Mendes on April 15, 2017 at UFC on Fox 24.[39] He won the fight by unanimous decision.[40]

Sterling faced Renan Barão on July 29, 2017 at UFC 214.[41] The fight was initially contracted to be contested at bantamweight, however on June 28, the CSAC announced that they would not license Barão to compete at that weight due to his struggle to make the required weight at UFC 177. The bout with Sterling proceeded as scheduled at a catchweight of 140 lbs.[42] Sterling won the bout by unanimous decision.[43]

Sterling was expected to face Rani Yahya on December 9, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 123.[44] However, Yahya pulled out from the event on November 7, 2017 due to injury,[45] and was replaced by Marlon Moraes.[46] He lost the fight via KO in the first round.[47]


Sterling faced Brett Johns on April 21, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 128.[48] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[49]

Sterling faced Cody Stamann on September 8, 2018 at UFC 228.[50] He won the fight via submission in the second round.[51]


Sterling faced Jimmie Rivera on February 17, 2019 at UFC on ESPN 1.[52] He won the fight by unanimous decision.[53]

Sterling faced Pedro Munhoz on June 8, 2019 at UFC 238.[54] He won the fight by unanimous decision.[55]


Sterling faced Cory Sandhagen on June 6, 2020 at UFC 250 in a bout that UFC president Dana White confirmed to be a bantamweight title eliminator.[56][57] He won the bout via submission in the first round.[58] This win earned him his first Performance of the Night.[59]


Sterling was expected to face Petr Yan for the UFC Bantamweight Championship on December 12, 2020 at UFC 256.[60] However, on November 22, it was announced the bout was scrapped from the UFC 256 card due to undisclosed reasons[61] and the bout took place on March 6, 2021 at UFC 259.[62] Sterling won the fight by disqualification due to an intentional illegal knee in the fourth round, becoming the new UFC Bantamweight Champion. He became the first fighter in UFC history to win a championship by disqualification.[63]

A rematch with Yan was expected to take place on October 30, 2021 at UFC 267.[64] However, on September 25, Sterling withdrew from the contest due to lingering neck issues from surgery.[65]

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
23 matches 20 wins 3 losses
By knockout 2 1
By submission 8 0
By decision 9 2
By disqualification 1 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 20–3 Petr Yan DQ (illegal knee) UFC 259 March 6, 2021 4 4:29 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 19–3 Cory Sandhagen Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 250 June 6, 2020 1 1:28 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 18–3 Pedro Munhoz Decision (unanimous) UFC 238 June 8, 2019 3 5:00 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 17–3 Jimmie Rivera Decision (unanimous) UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez February 17, 2019 3 5:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 16–3 Cody Stamann Submission (Suloev stretch) UFC 228 September 8, 2018 2 3:42 Dallas, Texas, United States
Win 15–3 Brett Johns Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee April 21, 2018 3 5:00 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Loss 14–3 Marlon Moraes KO (knee) UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega December 9, 2017 1 1:07 Fresno, California, United States
Win 14–2 Renan Barão Decision (unanimous) UFC 214 July 29, 2017 3 5:00 Anaheim, California, United States Catchweight (140 lb) bout.
Win 13–2 Augusto Mendes Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Reis April 15, 2017 3 5:00 Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Loss 12–2 Raphael Assunção Decision (split) UFC on Fox: Shevchenko vs. Peña January 28, 2017 3 5:00 Denver, Colorado, United States
Loss 12–1 Bryan Caraway Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Garbrandt May 29, 2016 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 12–0 Johnny Eduardo Submission (guillotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs. VanZant December 10, 2015 2 4:18 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 11–0 Takeya Mizugaki Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold April 18, 2015 3 2:11 Newark, New Jersey, United States
Win 10–0 Hugo Viana TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller July 16, 2014 3 3:50 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 9–0 Cody Gibson Decision (unanimous) UFC 170 February 22, 2014 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8–0 Joel Roberts Submission (rear-naked choke) CFFC 30: Sterling vs. Roberts November 2, 2013 1 1:49 King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, United States Defended the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 7–0 Sidemar Honorio Submission (rear-naked choke) CFFC 16: Williams vs. Jacoby August 24, 2012 2 4:05 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Defended the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 6–0 Casey Johnson Submission (rear-naked choke) CFFC 14: No Mercy April 14, 2012 3 2:11 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Defended the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 5–0 Sean Santella Decision (unanimous) CFFC 11: Danger Zone! October 22, 2011 5 5:00 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Return to Bantamweight. Won the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 4–0 Evan Chmielski TKO (punches) CFFC 10: Black Eye July 23, 2011 1 4:58 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Featherweight debut.
Win 3–0 Claudio Ledesma Decision (split) Ring of Combat 36 June 17, 2011 3 5:00 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Won the Ring of Combat Bantamweight Championship.
Win 2–0 Harley Leimbach Submission (rear-naked choke) EFC: Bragging Rights 2 May 21, 2011 1 4:01 Erie, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 1–0 Sergio da Silva Decision (unanimous) UCC 4: Supremacy April 22, 2011 3 5:00 Morristown, New Jersey, United States


See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Michael Rothstein (June 2, 2019). "Wrestling allowed Aljamain Sterling to make his own path".
  3. ^ "Fight Card – UFC Fight Night Machida vs. Rockhold". Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Stats | UFC". Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  5. ^ Amy Kaplan (August 4, 2019). "Aljamain Sterling earns Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt".
  6. ^ Eric Holden (February 3, 2015). "Aljamain Sterling on UFC Newark: 'You know why I'm here'".
  7. ^ "UFC 259 Official Scorecards". 3 March 2021. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  8. ^ Mike Heck (May 20, 2020). "Aljamain Sterling feels 'pretty good' about odds he'll fight next for UFC bantamweight title".
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mark Daniels (2011-06-22). "Aljamain Sterling on a similar path to success as mentor UFC Champ Jon Jones". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  11. ^ Joe Myers (2014-04-02). "Sherdog Prospect Watch: Aljamain Sterling". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  12. ^ a b "A Red Dragon Uncaged". December 1, 2017.
  13. ^ Collegian, Jake Aferiat | The Daily. "Penn State wrestler Roman Bravo-Young slated to wrestle UFC title contender Aljamain Sterling". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved 2020-12-06.
  14. ^ "Aljamain Sterling on Twitter: "IT'S OFFICIAL!!! December 22nd, I'm dusting off the wrestling shoes against .@romanbravoyoung - D1 vs D3 wrestling baby! This will be a feature match LIVE on .@TheRokfin. Link in my bio! - 6 minutes wrestling. 3 minutes of BJJ. Who you guys got? Drop a comment below!". Twitter. December 7, 2020.
  15. ^ Collegian, Jake Aferiat | The Daily. "Zain Retherford, Roman Bravo-Young put on strong showings as headliners in NLWC's fourth freestyle event". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  16. ^ "Aljamain Sterling "Funk Master"". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  17. ^ "Ring of Combat XXXVI Official Results". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  18. ^ Mike Whitman (2014-01-29). "Aljamain Sterling Replaces Injured Bryan Caraway, Faces Lucas Martins at UFC 170". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  19. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2014-02-12). "Cody Gibson replaces Lucas Martins, will face Aljamain Sterling at UFC 170". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  20. ^ Steven Marrocco (2014-02-22). "UFC 170 results: Aljamain Sterling hangs on to beat Cody Gibson". Retrieved 2014-02-22.
  21. ^ MMAjunkie Staff (2014-04-23). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Hugo Viana added to UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City". Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  22. ^ Cody Rempel (2014-07-31). "UFC Fight Night 54: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine – Halifax – October 4". Retrieved 2014-09-02.
  23. ^ Staff (2014-09-08). "Rob Font replaces Aljamain Sterling, faces Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night in Halifax". Retrieved 2014-09-08.
  24. ^ Dana Becker (2014-10-13). "UFC Fight Night 55 adds Aljamain Sterling-Frankie Saenz". Retrieved 2014-10-13.
  25. ^ Keith Grienke (2014-10-26). "Imperato Joins UFC To Face Sterling at UFC Fight Night 55". Retrieved 2014-10-26.
  26. ^ Keith Grienke (2014-10-26). "UFC Rescinds Offer to Michael Imperato".
  27. ^ Thomas Gerbasi (2014-10-29). "Changes hit Sydney card". Retrieved 2014-10-29.
  28. ^ Staff (2015-01-08). "Manny Gamburyan vs. Aljamain Sterling added to UFC on FOX 15 in April". Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  29. ^ Damon Martin (2015-02-03). "Manny Gamburyan out; Takeya Mizugaki now faces Aljamain Sterling in New Jersey". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
  30. ^ Luke Thomas (2015-09-28). "Aljamain Sterling to face Johnny Eduardo at UFC Fight Night 80". Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  31. ^ Mike Bohn (2015-12-10). "UFC Fight Night 80 results: Aljamain Sterling takes down, taps out Johnny Eduardo". Retrieved 2015-12-10.
  32. ^ Dana Becker (2016-03-31). "Aljamain Sterling gets his wish, will face Bryan Caraway at UFN 88". Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  33. ^ Dave Doyle (2016-05-29). "UFC Fight Night 88 results: Bryan Caraway rallies past Aljamain Sterling". Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  34. ^ Brett Okamoto (2016-10-10). "Raphael Assuncao-Aljamain Sterling added to UFC Fight Night in Dec". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  35. ^ John Morgan (2016-11-24). "Aljamain Sterling out at UFC Fight Night 102, promotion needs U.S.-based foe for Raphael Assuncao". Retrieved 2016-11-24.
  36. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2016-11-28). "Raphael Assuncao removed from UFC Albany card after Aljamain Sterling injury". Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  37. ^ Ariel Helwani (2016-12-07). "Raphael Assuncao vs. Aljamian Sterling slated for UFC on Fox 23". Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  38. ^ Ben Fowlkes (2017-01-28). "UFC on FOX 23 results: Raphael Assuncao outpaces Aljamian Sterling for decision victory". Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  39. ^ Dan Hiergesell (2017-03-18). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Augusto Mendes added to UFC on Fox 24 on April 15". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  40. ^ Steven Marrocco (2017-04-15). "UFC on FOX 24 results: Aljamain Sterling shows all-around skills, rebounds to beat Augusto Mendes". Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  41. ^ Damon Martin (2017-05-24). "Renan Barao returns to bantamweight, faces Aljamain Sterling at UFC 214". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  42. ^ Tristen Critchfield (2017-06-28). "CSAC denies Barao license at bantamweight; UFC 214 bout vs. Sterling now set for 140 pounds". Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  43. ^ Steven Marrocco (2017-07-29). "UFC 214 results: Aljamain Sterling scores big win over Renan Barao at 140-pound catchweight". Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  44. ^ Staff (2017-10-18). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Rani Yahya added to UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno". Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  45. ^ "Aljamain Sterling needs new opponent for UFC-Fresno with Rani Yahya forced out". MMAjunkie. 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  46. ^ "Aljamain Sterling gets Marlon Moraes as UFC-Fresno replacement opponent". MMAjunkie. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  47. ^ "UFC Fight Night 123 results: Marlon Moraes KOs Aljamain Sterling with ridiculous knee". MMAjunkie. 2017-12-10. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  48. ^ Staff (2018-02-08). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns set for UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City". Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  49. ^ "UFC Fight Night 128 results: Aljamain Sterling dominates previously unbeaten Brett Johns". MMAjunkie. 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  50. ^ Mark Francescutti (2018-07-18). "UFC 228 in Dallas bouts revealed". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  51. ^ "UFC 228 results: Aljamain Sterling shines with incredible submission of Cody Stamann". MMAjunkie. 2018-09-09. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  52. ^ DNA, MMA. "Lang verwachte partij tussen Jimmie Rivera en Aljamain Sterling tijdens UFC Phoenix". Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  53. ^ "UFC on ESPN 1 results: Aljamain Sterling scintillating, shuts out Jimmie Rivera". MMAjunkie. 2019-02-18. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  54. ^ Staff (2019-04-05). "UFC sets Pedro Munhoz x Aljamain Sterling for the same card of Moraes x Cejudo" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  55. ^ "UFC 238 results: Aljamain Sterling dismantles Pedro Munhoz, calls for title shot". MMA Junkie. 2019-06-09. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  56. ^ "Aljamain Sterling vs. Cory Sandhagen Targeted For UFC 250". MMA News. 2020-05-21. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  57. ^ Fernando Quiles, Jr. (June 6, 2020). "UFC President Dana White Confirms Sterling vs. Sandhagen Is Title Eliminator". Archived from the original on June 7, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  58. ^ Damon Martin (June 6, 2020). "UFC 250 results: Aljamain Sterling chokes out Cory Sandhagen in statement performance". Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  59. ^ a b Anderson, Jay (2020-06-07). "UFC 250 Bonuses: No Fight of the Night, O'Malley, Garbrandt Among Winners". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  60. ^ Mike Bohn (2020-10-14). "Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling bantamweight title fight set for UFC 256". Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  61. ^ Damon Martin, Guillherme Cruz (November 22, 2020). "Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling scrapped from UFC 256". Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  62. ^ "UFC 259 gets third title fight with Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling rebooking". MMA Junkie. 2021-01-07. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  63. ^ Doherty, Dan (2021-03-07). "UFC 259 Results: Aljamain Sterling Wins Title After Petr Yan's Illegal Knee". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  64. ^ Prithvi Mishra (2021-07-09). "Aljamain Sterling returns to UFC action and will defend his title at UFC 267". Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  65. ^ Mike Heck and Damon Martin (2021-09-25). "Aljamain Sterling out of UFC 267 title fight vs. Petr Yan". Retrieved 2021-09-25.
  66. ^ Mike Bohn (January 4, 2019). "MMAjunkie's 2018 'Submission of the Year': A little 'strudel' with your stretch".
  67. ^ "MMA Junkie's 'Submission of the Month' for June: The 'Human Backpack' strikes again". July 2, 2020.
  68. ^ "MMA 2020 Year in Review: Submission of the Year". Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  69. ^ "Aljamain". Sherdog. Retrieved 2020-06-07.

External links

Preceded by 8th UFC Bantamweight Champion
March 6, 2021 – present
Retrieved from ""