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Aljamain Sterling prepares to fight Henry Cejudo in the UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 288 event at Prudential Center on May 06, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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UFC 300

Aljamain Sterling: ‘This Is What Dreams Are Made Of’

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling Is Thrilled To Make His UFC Featherweight Debut At UFC 300: Pereira vs Hill On April 13

Aljamain Sterling has never missed weight in his ten plus years competing in the UFC.

Once he signed a contract to fight someone, he’d take a look at the calendar and allocate a certain amount of weight loss to each day in the lead-up to weigh-ins. Each time, it was physically and mentally challenging, but Sterling beat the scale each of the 19 times he stepped on to it.

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Being a professional and making weight wasn’t where the success stopped for the “Funk Master.” He put together an incredible run, which culminated in becoming the UFC bantamweight champion in 2021. He defended that title three times in a row and, overall, he beat 15 opponents at bantamweight, which are both records for the 135-pound division.

But after losing the title to Sean O’Malley in summer of 2023, the 34-year-old Sterling decided it was time for a change, and he turned his attention to featherweight. His first test comes against longtime contender Calvin Kattar at UFC 300: Pereira vs Hill.

Catching Up With Aljamain Sterling | UFC 300
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Catching Up With Aljamain Sterling | UFC 300
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It’s a monumental event and it’s exactly the type of moment where Sterling can showcase that his greatness at bantamweight can translate against the excellent crop of fighters at 145 pounds.

“I think it’s huge to come out and do something completely new on a historic card,” Sterling told UFC.com. “This is what dreams are made of. Everyone wants to be on this card, so when they gave me the opportunity, I was like, ‘100% put me on the card.’”

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The UFC 300 card is truly unreal – featuring stars from top to bottom, along with 12 former or current champions.

Getting a spot on UFC 300 and getting the chance to immediately insert himself into the featherweight Top 10 was the perfect scenario for Sterling, who knows that with the world watching, he can make an important statement with a brilliant performance.

Aljamain Sterling reacts after his victory over TJ Dillashaw in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Aljamain Sterling reacts after his victory over TJ Dillashaw in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“I think a lot of people are going to be tuned in to watch, so it’s another way for me to build my fanbase and reintroduce myself,” Sterling said. “I’m at a new weight class, my new home, and hopefully I can do it in a big way.”

The matchup with Kattar is a fascinating one, as the Massachusetts native has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in October of 2022. Kattar brings top tier boxing, next level toughness, and finishing power to the Octagon, and while he isn’t exactly known as a grappler, he’s never shied away from that aspect of his game.

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With the wrestling pedigree that we’ve come to expect from Sterling, he certainly intends to put that part of Kattar’s game to the test on April 13.

“I think it’s going to be a tough fight. The one thing I can say that I got going for me is that he hasn’t fought someone that was constantly trying to take him down, and I think that difference is going to be more beneficial to me,” Sterling said. “I’m going to be giving him a different look, something that he’s never really prepared for, and I don’t know if he’s got training partners that can do that. I ‘m sure he’s bringing in some high-level wrestlers, but I think I bring a little different pace. If I do get a takedown, I’d like to think my chances of being in the top position are going to be completely different for him.”

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Not being hyper focused on the weight for this camp has allowed Sterling to go through training happier, have more energy, recover faster, and dial in on technique that he would normally have to scrap in order to burn calories.

Sterling believes that time spent in those other areas are going to pay dividends against Kattar.

“Ten pounds is a big difference for me, it changes what I do,” Sterling said. “So, I’m just super excited to go out there and try something new and see what I can do in a brand-new weight class.

“Maybe make some history there, as well.”

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UFC 300: Pereira vs Hill took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 13, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass