Aljamain Sterling Reacts To Dana White Giving Him His Flowers

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Aljamain Sterling is starting to get some more respect on his name.

Over the years, we’ve seen Sterling have a bit of a rocky relationship when it comes to the UFC brass. Whenever he reigned as UFC Bantamweight Champion, there was a few criticisms here and there from Dana White, whether it was getting him to make a quick turnaround at UFC 292 or judging him and teammate Merab Dvalishvili not wanting to fight each other.

Despite their history, the UFC CEO didn’t nitpick Sterling for his showing against Calvin Kattar at UFC 300. “Funkmaster” used his wrestling prowess to dominate Kattar in his featherweight debut, winning every round on the judges’ scorecards.

While many fans were quick to jump the gun and call the decision win ‘boring’ or ‘lackluster’, White decided to heap praise on Sterling’s performance instead.

“Anytime you move up weight and you win, especially against a tough guy like Calvin. I thought that, here’s what I will say about Aljo. I thought that he made Calvin look slow. Not a fan favorite on UFC 300, but moving up and weight and taking on a tough, gritty guy like Calvin is always a good win,” White said at the UFC 300 post-fight press conference.

Sterling, now a top-10 contender at featherweight, was glad to hear White change his tune about him after the last few years. Although, he acknowledges his flowers could have come way sooner.

“I thought that was for once really nice of him,” Sterling said of White on ‘The MMA Hour‘. “I was like, did I have to lose the belt? Just for people to just like, like, I don’t know, just cut me a little slack. I’m not asking for much. I think you take more to go outta your way to be dismissive and rude to someone versus to just kind of just prop ’em up. I think it’s just easier to do the other.

“So, when I heard that he made some good comments and whatnot— someone played me a clip and it said something like it’s not easy to go up a weight class. I didn’t expect him to say [that]. He could’ve easily been like, well, we all know how a Sterling fight goes. He could’ve easily said that and people would’ve just s*** all over me again.

But, of course, that’s not the way things played out. Sterling continued.

“I thank him for that, that was cool. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for him to kind of, at least make me somewhat of an ally. ’cause the fans are gonna regurgitate whatever he says, and he knows that. We all know that. And I don’t even think he was ever saying it maliciously, but I think he just speaks his truth and however Dana feels at the time is however he feels at the time. And thankfully at that moment, he was in a good move, to give out some type of slack and compliment.

“Again, I think he was spot on saying, I think for me to do that to a guy like Calvin, to make Calvin look slow, who’s been in some barn burner fights against some of the baddest guys. Come on man. It’s like, guys, how many strikes did he actually land? This was a fight I was the most nervous about. And for me to go out there and do that, I think it says a lot. So I’ll see what the UFC offers me next.”

Revisiting the official UFC statistics, Calvin Kattar landed only 19 total strikes compared to Sterling’s 89. The former champion accumulated 10:43 of control time, scoring 8 takedowns in the fight.

Aljamain Sterling has expressed he wants to fight #3-ranked Brian Ortega next at featherweight.

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Christopher De Santiago is a 22 year-old journalist out of Texas with years of experience covering MMA. Follow him on X: @chris_dsantiago

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