Petr Yan: Aljamain Sterling is the one who needs rematch, but ‘I’m not interested’

·2 min read
Petr Yan: Aljamain Sterling is the one who needs rematch, but ‘I’m not interested’

While it would be easy to assume Petr Yan is planning to immediately call out Aljamain Sterling if victorious at UFC 267, the former bantamweight champ said that’s not the case.

“Sterling needs the rematch to prove that he can do something,” Yan told reporters through an interpreter at Wednesday’s UFC 267 media day. “For me, I’m not interested in the rematch if I win the belt this Saturday.”

Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Cory Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) meet in the co-main event of Saturday’s card, which steams live on ESPN+ from Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. With reigning champion Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) sidelined while recovering from neck surgery, Yan and Sandhagen meet for an interim title.

While the circumstances of the bout aren’t necessarily ideal, it’s an intriguing matchup stylistically. Oddsmakers have Yan pegged as a sizable favorite, but he insists Sandhagen isn’t to be taken lightly.

“He’s a well-deserving opponent who’s very versatile and very good everywhere,” Yan said. “In the fight, I just want to showcase in which aspect I am greater than him.”

The winner will walk away with a UFC belt wrapped around their waist, but interim titles are often a source of debate when considering what their true value means in the promotion.

Yan doesn’t see it that way.

“For me, it doesn’t matter,” Yan said. “I have a fight for the belt this Saturday.”

Related

Cory Sandhagen: 'I'll see myself as champ' with UFC 267 interim title win

Video: UFC 267 'Countdown' for Cory Sandhagen vs. Petr Yan

With Sterling slowly on the mend, it would seem Saturday’s winner would likely meet him in a unification bout in early 2022. But with Yan still clearly frustrated with Sterling after ceding the belt to him via disqualification earlier this year, the Russian striker doesn’t seem all that concerned with whether or not their paths will cross again.

“My goal is to win the belt, and it doesn’t matter who’s standing across from me,” Yan said. “I don’t want to think about him at all.”

To see the full interview with Yan, check out the video above.

Loading
Loading


Loading...

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting