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With COVID-19 ban, Aljamain Sterling says ‘there is no fight announcement’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

While many people were intrigued and excited at a reported matchup between Aljamain Sterling and Cory Sandhagen for May’s UFC San Diego event, it seems to be news to Sterling himself.

“Funk Master” took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to respond to the rumored bantamweight clash for the scheduled event May 16, which was first reported by TSN and later confirmed via multiple sources by MMA Fighting. With the sports world remaining influx due to the coronavirus outbreak, along with non-essential businesses being closed, Sterling doesn’t see how he could get a full fight camp in to prepare for a pivotal matchup with Sandhagen — or anyone else for that matter.

“We’ve spoken about a few different opponents,” Sterling tweeted. “As far as I know there is no fight announcement, especially with all this chaos happening.

“I don’t even have access to my gym anymore. It’s been a complete ban for everyone and you guys think I’m taking a fight? Yea, ok.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC was forced to postpone three recent shows. As of now, UFC 249 — which is set to take place April 18 — is still scheduled to take place, although the location for that event is still up in the air. UFC president Dana White is adamant that the event will move forward.

Following a first-round KO loss to Marlon Moraes in December 2017, the 30-year-old Sterling has surged up the ladder of one of the deepest divisions in the UFC. Sterling has won his last four fights, including a unanimous decision win over Pedro Munoz in his most recent bout at UFC 238 in June.

Sandhagen has won his last seven fights, including all five of his Octagon appearances. In his most recent appearance, the 27-year-old Sandhagen picked up a unanimous decision win over Rafael Assuncao at UFC 241 in August.

Should the UFC’s return to San Diego go on as scheduled, the event will be headlined by a lightweight matchup between Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker.

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