“He’s not my first choice,” Stamann (17-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) told MMAjunkie Radio.
“Sorry, I’m looking up who that is on Wikipedia,” Sterling (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), offered.
A few weeks ago, the two weren’t even on each other’s radar. They were running parallel courses in the UFC bantamweight division, and nobody was pining for them to fight.
Sterling was fresh off a win over Brett Johns, a promising up-and-comer who served as his comeback fight after a knockout loss to Marlon Moraes. In March, Stamann upset Bryan Caraway for his first win over a ranked opponent.
One day, Stamann logged on to Twitter and took offense at one of Sterling’s claims, and now they’re on each other’s enemy list.
“I saw what he wrote about being the gest grappler in the division, and I was like, ‘(Expletive) that. You suck, Aljamain,’” Stamann said. “He talks himself up like he’s Conor McGregor, and then every single time they put him in a fight where he’s going to be a contender, he gets his ass whooped.”
Sterling (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who’d just called out ex-champ Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC), interpreted Stamann’s shade as an up-and-comer trying to talk his way up the ranks, and he was all too happy to shoot it down. Then, ignore it.
“As far as I can see, the kid is a tool,” he said. “I have no interest in fighting a guy who’s just 3-0 with two split decision wins, which I think the majority of fans thought should have gone the other way.”
They’ve gone a few rounds on social media, but both see each other as a nuisance amid more legitimate challenges offered at 135 pounds.
Sterling said the UFC offered him a fight with Stamann or Johns for his previous bout, and he chose the latter because he thought it would be better for his career.
“I took the harder fight, the guy who everyone thought would be the next guy to move up in the division,” he said. “I think (Stamann) needs to do his part and fight another couple guys.
“If the fight materializes, I’ll gladly oblige. But right now, I think the kid is just a tool.”
Stamann acknowledges a fight with Sterling would make sense, as they’re both ranked fighters. But he believes accepting it won’t advance his career in the way he desires.
“Coming off my last fight against (Bryan) Caraway, I wasn’t like, ‘I want to fight Aljamain Sterling,’” Stamann said. “Everyone was like, ‘Bryan Caraway doesn’t win big fights,’ and I still got that kind of backlash, like, you’re still not legit.
“If I fight Aljamain Sterling, I’m going to get the exact same thing. People are going to tell me the same (expletive).”
Stamann instead wants to meet well-established contenders such as Raphael Assuncao (26-5 MMA, 10-2 UFC) or John Lineker (26-5 MMA, 10-2 UFC). Unfortunately for him, Assuncao is already booked at UFC 226, the event he hopes will host his next fight, and Lineker is fresh off a dominant win at UFC 224.
“If Sterling’s the only guy, whatever,” he said.
The feeling is mutual.
“He can take that 17-1 record and actually fight someone tough,” Sterling said.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC's Cody Stamann and Aljamain Sterling still beefing, but no desire to settle things