Weight cutting will always be a hot button topic in mixed martial arts but reigning UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling doesn’t understand how his ability to get down to 135 pounds has suddenly upset another contender in his division.
During a recent interview, Marlon “Chito” Vera took shots at Sterling because he cuts quite a few pounds to get down to bantamweight, which he believes gives “The Funkmaster” an unfair advantage over his opposition.
“Cutting that much weight is cheating to me,” Vera said on the Believe You Me podcast. “You’re kind of a p**** if you cut that much weight, because you want to be bigger and stronger. Because he really doesn’t hurt nobody, but he makes you carry his weight, takes you down. I’m 155 pounds in or out of camp. I feel like that’s a natural 135-pounder, and I’m still thinking I cut a s*** load of weight, because 20 pounds is a lot.
“That motherf***** weighs like 170, 180 pounds when he’s eating f****** God knows what. Yeah, you can make the weight [but] that’s why he’s been KO’d unconscious, because of the amount of weight he cuts. If you touch him, he might go down.”
In response, Sterling took to his own podcast to answer Vera’s accusations while explaining that his knockout loss to Marlon Moraes back in 2017 — the only time he’s been finished by strikes in his career — had nothing to do with how much weight he did or didn’t cut.
“I’ve literally ran face-first into a knee against Marlon Moraes and I got faceplanted,” Sterling said. “Chito, [Dominick Cruz], Frankie [Edgar], [Adrian] Yanez, Merab [Dvalishvili], Umar [Nurmagomedov], [Cody] Gardbrant — the whole bantamweight division can go do the same exact thing — and get hit on the same exact spot from the force of a kick like that, and I guarantee you, you are sleeping. What are we even talking about? How are you even comparing that to ‘that’s why he’s been KO’d unconscious?’
“That was a very particular event, a sequence of events, that led to the KO’d unconscious. So, we’ve got to stop right there, it’s not the same argument. It’s not like we’re in an exchange and I get hit and I’m going down. We can see that with the [Petr] Yan fight, we can see that in the [Pedro] Munhoz fight.”
Sterling added that he’s been hit hard in plenty of his past fights yet he’s only been knocked out once in his career and it had nothing to do with weight cutting.
“I still kept coming forward [in those fights],” Sterling said. “I don’t know what we’re talking about here, ‘Chito.’”
According to Sterling, he’s had interactions with Vera in the past that seemed both cordial and confrontational but lately it’s felt like the pendulum has swung hard towards some kind of rivalry being built between them.
For his part, Sterling isn’t trying to feed into some sort of animosity, especially over something as pointless as a debate over how much weight he’s cutting to compete at 135 pounds.
“Is ‘Chito’ the tough, badass gangster that almost tries to dress like he’s a west coast gangster, versus the nice guy who’s super polite?” Sterling said. “Yeah, we’re in the same weight class, but I’m like, which one are you? You’re trying to be two different people.
“I really don’t give a s*** which one you want to be toward me. Like if I see you in person and you walk past me and you put your hand out and you give me this death stare at the same time you put your hand out. What, do you want to feel my soul, are you searching for something? Are you trying to intimidate me? I get it bro, you fight people for a living. That’s really cool and super badass, you’re like the only person I know that ever does anything that. You fight people. You have to be the toughest person on this planet, right? I don’t know which side of the fence you’re on here, buddy. You’ve got to pick one. We don’t [have] be best friends, you don’t got to be a d***. And we can be best friends, or you can be a d***. Which one do you want? I don’t get it. You’re confusing me.”