Aljamain Sterling: An Unconventional Path To Becoming A Top MMA Fighter


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Aljamain Sterling is one of the top MMA fighters in the world, but his success came from a highly unconventional path. In 2009, he was a student at Uniondale High School on Long Island, New York. He had just finished his senior year and was about to embark on the next phase of his life. 

Sterling had always been a good athlete, a plus for those who make UFC predictions. He wrestled in high school, which then turned into a passion for MMA. While attending college, he began training in mixed martial arts (MMA) and quickly fell in love with the sport. Within a few years, he had made his professional debut and fought regularly on the regional circuit.

Today, at 33 years old, Sterling, now a Cage Fury Fighting Championship Bantamweight Champion, is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC and is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. 

Early Life

Sterling was born in Uniondale, New York, on July 31, 1989. In 2006, Aljamain Sterling was a college student at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, New York. He was also a wrestler. When he wasn’t studying or wrestling, Sterling was working at a local pizzeria. 

It was there that he met some guys who were training in MMA. They convinced him to give it a try, and he fell in love with the sport.

After he began training in MMA, following an encounter with MMA fighter Jon Jones, he found that he had a natural talent for the sport. Over the next few years, he honed his skills and became one of the top MMA fighters in the world. In 2014, he signed a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the largest MMA organization in the world.

Since joining the UFC, Sterling has continued to impress with his fighting ability. In 2016, he won the UFC Bantamweight Championship and has since defended his title twice. He would go on to win his next six fights, all by stoppage, before making his UFC debut in 2014.

Sterling has compiled an impressive 22-3 record with three KOs. He has wins over some of the best fighters in the world, including former UFC champions. Today, Sterling is one of the top-ranked fighters in the UFC’s bantamweight division and is widely considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. 

Aljamain Sterling’s UFC Career

Aljamain Sterling’s UFC career began in December 2014 when he was signed to the organization after compiling a 10-0 record as a professional MMA fighter. He made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 57, losing to Raphael Assuncao via split decision.

Sterling bounced back from that loss with four straight wins, including a submission victory over Takeya Mizugaki that earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. He then suffered losses to Bryan Caraway and Marlon Moraes but rebounded with a win over Cody Stamann.

A battle for the UFC Bantamweight Championship was scheduled for December 12, 2020, between Sterling and Petr Yan at UFC 256. However, the fight was canceled. The two then met in UFC 259, where Sterling won due to disqualification. Petr intentionally went after Sterling with an illegal hit, causing the ref to call the fight. 

They were going to meet again in October 2021 at UFC 267. However, Sterling opted out of the competition a month before due to ongoing neck problems following his surgery, which led to his withdrawal from the competition.

Originally, the two were to fight at UFC 272 on March 5, 2022, but they were moved to UFC 273 on April 9. Sterling won the fight with a split decision and defended the title by a split decision in a close match. Then, against T.J. Dillashaw in a title defense fight in October 2022, Sterling picked up a second-round TKO for the win.

As of 2023, Sterling’s net worth is estimated to be $2 million.

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