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Petr Yan: Aljamain Sterling also deserves title shot, but I’m clear top contender if I beat Marlon Moraes

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Petr Yan praises fellow top-ranked bantamweight Aljamain Sterling, but he believes he’s ahead of the American in the UFC bantamweight pecking order.

“Sterling is a good fighter, and he’s deserving of a title shot too, but I think I deserve it more because I’ve been more active, I have more wins, I have a longer winning streak and I have more exciting performances,” Yan told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “I had one ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus and one performance bonus, so I think I am ahead of him.”

Many see Yan and Sterling as the two most obvious title challengers for Henry Cejudo‘s bantamweight gold. But after Jose Aldo was ruled out of traveling to face “Triple C” at UFC 250, the promotion drafted Dominick Cruz for the title bout.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic makes it highly unlikely Yan will meet Marlon Moraes in Kazakhstan as scheduled in early June. But the Russian believes the fight will still go ahead in some part of the world. And with a win over the Brazilian, he believes he’ll be the undeniable No. 1 contender in the division.

“Right now I have a fight scheduled and I already have an opponent, Marlon,” Yan explained. “He beat Sterling, he knocked out Sterling and he is right now ranked No. 1. I need to take care of him first, and if I will do that, I will be the clear No. 1 contender.

“I believe that will happen. I’ve signed a bout agreement a few weeks ago. I hope it’s going to happen. I think Marlon also believes it’s going to happen, so right now we’re getting ready.”

Yan said he hasn’t actually been promised a title shot, so the exact stakes of the Moraes fight are unclear. If he’s again delayed, he boasted he’ll take on Frankie Edgar or Cruz back-to-back.

“It’s time to stop digging up all these fake contenders like Cruz and Edgar,” he said. “I can fight them in one evening if I need to.”

Check out Petr Yan latest appearance on Eurobash. It begins at 11:30.

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