Petr Yan isn’t all that concerned with Aljamain Sterling’s jokes ahead of their fight on Saturday.
Yan and Sterling rematch for the UFC bantamweight title in the co-main event of UFC 273. While Sterling believes things are going to go much differently this time around, Yan said that Saturday night will be the end of the road for the champ.
“Just imagine, he’s tired of thinking about me, and I didn’t even think about him at all,” Yan said via translator on The MMA Hour. “He had this long layoff, I had a different opponent. I fought, and now he’s my next target that I’m gonna beat up. After the fight Saturday night, everybody is gonna forget about him. That clown will be forgotten....
“I think he [won’t] be able to do it; I think he wouldn’t be able to take me down. The stuff he said, it’s just gonna stay in his head, it’s gonna stay his dream. He’s a clown. Everything he has to do is just talk, and after the fight, if he comes to your show, all that’s gonna be left is for him to talk.”
The bantamweight title unifier is a long-awaited grudge match dating back to their first fight at UFC 259, which Yan lost his title by disqualification after illegally kneeing Sterling in the head and ending the bout. A neck surgery for Sterling delayed an immediate rematch and so instead, Yan fought Cory Sandhagen for an interim title, winning a unanimous decision at UFC 267.
For the past year, Yan and Sterling have taken shots at one another on a regular basis, with Yan mocking Sterling as a “fake champion” and “actor” for the way he won the title. Sterling has responded in kind that Yan is a “cheater” and a “dummy” for illegally kneeing him in the first place. With their rematch finally looming, this past week, Sterling took one final opportunity to make fun of Yan, posting a video of mocking Yan’s title-losing illegal knee.
Going over some Fight IQ with the team….. ya know so that they never lose their belt.— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) April 3, 2022
The best seller, MMA Rule Book For Dummies, by yours truly is available worldwide. Even in Russia and Thailand. #justsaying
Tag a friend or a who needs this book! pic.twitter.com/o3Y0tuvw4s
Yan isn’t bothered by such things.
“He’s just trying to sell the pay-per-views,” the interim champ said. “He’s trying to earn the last big money of his life. If you advise him to wear a skirt now, he’s gonna wear a skirt now if it will sell pay-per-views.”
Many seem to agree with Yan. The interim bantamweight champion is currently a -475 favorite on DraftKings, the third-biggest favorite on the card. And with the public so strongly backing him, Yan is looking to make a statement on Saturday to finish this rivalry once and for all.
“I want to make sure there won’t be no questions left after this and I will make sure there will be no questions left,” Yan said. “We’re gonna see his crying head on your TV again.”
UFC 273 takes place on Saturday at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.