Sterling Sets Game Plan in Second Bantamweight Title Defense

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If Aljamain Sterling (funkmasterMMA) retains the bantamweight belt at UFC280, he will have no shortage of opponents seeking a shot at the title. JustinBarrasso breaks down the list of potential contenders in the division

Aljamain Sterling defends the bantamweight championship on Oct. 22 at UFC 280 against T.J. Dillashaw.

This is Sterling’s second defense of the title, with the first coming in April against Petr Yan. Dillashaw has been away from the cage far longer, last competing against Cory Sandhagen in January of 2021. That was a tightly contested bout, with Dillashaw winning by split decision. “I’m keeping Chito [Vera] in mind, too. Khabib’s younger cousin Umar is tough. There are so many high-level guys–Ricky Simon, Adrian Yanez, there are so many good opponents. Sandhagen just had a huge win against Song Yadong, who is so dangerous. One shot, he could put anybody to sleep. Anyone in the top 10, even the top 15, they’re all potential opponents.”

If he wins at 280, this current run should put Muhammad next in line for a title shot once Edwards and Kamaru Usman complete their trilogy. That would mean he would jump past Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns, as well as the controversial Khamzat Chimaev.A.J. McKee was victorious last weekend in his lightweight debut, defeating Spike Carlyle by unanimous decision at Bellator 286.

“If I’m not getting a rematch against Pitbull, then I’m going to stay at 155,” McKee says. “There is no other point to go back other than the legacy of the trilogy.

 

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