UFC fans are going to have to wait for the rematch between Aljamain Sterling (20-3) and Petr Yan (15-2). The bantamweight champion told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that he’s set for neck surgery on April 15th.
The surgery is to address a medical issue that Sterling has apparently been dealing with for the past ten years. There had been whispers of a summer rematch between Sterling and Yan, but that is now off the table. Sterling won the title by disqualification last month.
The UFC champion told ESPN, “They told me I will heal in three months, and can start doing cardio to get myself ready. They wouldn’t want to see me take a fight until they see everything has fused in my neck correctly. Five months would be ideal.”
What’s next for the UFC?
Sterling told ESPN that in an ideal world he would defend his title in either late October or early November. So, what does the UFC do and will Petr Yan sit on the sidelines for that amount of time?
I’m really not sure what’s going to happen because this surgery screws up the entire timeline. The UFC wanted Sterling and Yan to rematch in the summer. The plan was to have the winner of TJ Dillashaw – Cory Sandhagen fight for the title in the fall.
However, with Sterling out, all bets are off. If I had to guess, I think the UFC is going to make an interim title. I could be dead wrong, but something tells me that they will.
My guess is that the winner of TJ Dillashaw – Cory Sandhagen will fight Petr Yan in the summer for the interim title. The winner of that matchup would then fight Sterling for the undisputed UFC title in the fall. Might not make sense to Sterling, but that’s the direction I think the promotion goes in.