Aljamain Antoine Sterling (born July 31, 1989) is an American mixed martial artist of Jamaican descent. A professional since 2011, he made a name for himself competing in Cage Fury Fighting Championships, where he won and defended the Bantamweight Championship. He is signed with the UFC, fighting in its bantamweight division. As of July 16, 2020, he is #2 in the UFC bantamweight rankings
Alijamain Sterling at UFC 228
|Born||Aljamain Antoine Sterling|
July 31, 1989
Uniondale, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Funk Master|
|Residence||Massapequa, New York, U.S.|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight||135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)|
|Reach||71 in (180 cm)|
|Team||Serra-Longo Fight Team|
|Rank||Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Matt Serra|
|Wrestling||NCAA Division III Wrestling|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Sterling was born in 1989 in Uniondale, New York to Jamaican parents, Cleveland and Sophie Sterling. He grew up with seven full siblings and at least 12 half-siblings. To stay away from the prevalent gang life in which some of his brothers joined, Sterling started wrestling at Uniondale High School in 2004.
Unable to catch up with the grades to reach Division I, Sterling opted to enroll at Morrisville State College where he continued wrestling. During the time in Morrisville, Sterling developed an interest for MMA when he met Jon Jones and trained on the wrestling team. After the freshman year, Sterling transferred to Cortland and eventually became a two-time NCAA Division III All-American with record of 87-27. Sterling graduated from Cortland with a bachelor's degree in physical education.
He earned the nickname “The Funk Master” from his unorthodox wrestling style.
Mixed martial arts careerEdit
While studying in Cortland, Sterling was invited by Jones to try out mixed martial arts at his gym of that time, The BombSquad in Ithaca, New York. A few fights into his professional career, Sterling left The BombSquad and started training at Serra-Longo Fight Team.
Sterling started his amateur career in 2009 with a submission win. Prior to turning pro Sterling compiled a 6-1 amateur record with the lone loss coming by way of split decision, he would eventually avenge this loss. Sterling captured the Raging Wolf amateur Bantamweight Championship and Extreme FC amateur Featherweight Championship along the way.
Sterling started his professional career 2-0, before earning a shot at the ROC Bantamweight Championship. He would go on to defeat Claudio Ledesma by split decision to capture the title. Although this would turn out to be his last bout under the Ring of Combat organization, as he would later sign with Cage Fury Fighting Championships.
Sterling made his CFFC debut in a Featherweight bout against Evan Chmieleski. He won the fight by TKO with just two seconds left in the first round. This victory earned him a shot at the vacant CFFC Bantamweight Championship. Sterling defeated Sean Santella via unanimous decision to capture his second professional title. He would go on to defend the CFFC Bantamweight Championship on three occasions. Sterling finished all three of his title defenses by rear naked choke, which earned him the opportunity to compete in the UFC.
Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit
Sterling was scheduled to make his UFC debut at UFC 170 against Lucas Martins, replacing an injured Bryan Caraway. However Martins was eventually injured as well and replaced by fellow UFC newcomer Cody Gibson. Sterling won the fight via unanimous decision.
Sterling made his second UFC appearance on July 16, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 45 against Hugo Viana. After controlling the majority of the fight Sterling landed a barrage of punches from the mount position causing the referee to waive off the fight late in the third round.
Following a quick recovery, Sterling was promptly rebooked and was expected to face Frankie Saenz on November 8, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 55. However, Saenz was forced to withdraw from the bout and in turn promotional newcomer Michael Imperato was briefly linked as a replacement. However, his signing was quickly rescinded and as a result, Sterling was pulled from the event altogether.
Sterling was expected to face Manvel Gamburyan on April 18, 2015 at UFC on Fox 15. However, Gamburyan pulled out of the bout citing injury and was replaced by Takeya Mizugaki. Sterling won the fight by submission in the third round.
Sterling next faced Bryan Caraway on May 29, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 88. Despite dominating the first round, Sterling began to tire and would go on to lose the following two rounds and lose via split decision.
Sterling was expected to face Raphael Assunção on December 9, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 102. However, Sterling pulled out of the fight on November 23 citing injury. Assunção was subsequently removed from the card.
Sterling faced Renan Barão on July 29, 2017 at UFC 214. The fight was initially contracted to be contested at bantamweight, however on June 28, the CSAC announced that they would not license Barão to compete at that weight due to his struggle to make the required weight at UFC 177. The bout with Sterling proceeded as scheduled at a catchweight of 140 lbs. Sterling won the bout by unanimous decision.
Sterling was expected to face Rani Yahya on December 9, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 123. However, Yahya pulled out from the event on November 7, 2017 due to injury, and was replaced by Marlon Moraes. He lost the fight via KO in the first round.
Sterling faced Cory Sandhagen on June 6, 2020 at UFC 250 in a bout that UFC president Dana White confirmed to be a bantamweight title eliminator. He won the bout via submission in the first round. This win earned him his first Performance of the Night.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
Mixed martial artsEdit
- Cage Fury Fighting Championships
- CFFC Bantamweight Championship (One time)
- Three successful title defenses
- Ring of Combat
- ROC Bantamweight Championship (One time)
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|Professional record breakdown|
|22 matches||19 wins||3 losses|
|Win||19–3||Cory Sandhagen||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC 250||June 6, 2020||1||1:28||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||18–3||Pedro Munhoz||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 238||June 8, 2019||3||5:00||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Win||17–3||Jimmie Rivera||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez||February 17, 2019||3||5:00||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||16–3||Cody Stamann||Submission (Suloev stretch)||UFC 228||September 8, 2018||2||3:42||Dallas, Texas, United States|
|Win||15–3||Brett Johns||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee||April 21, 2018||3||5:00||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Loss||14–3||Marlon Moraes||KO (knee)||UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega||December 9, 2017||1||1:07||Fresno, California, United States|
|Win||14–2||Renan Barão||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 214||July 29, 2017||3||5:00||Anaheim, California, United States||Catchweight (140 lbs) bout.|
|Win||13–2||Augusto Mendes||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Reis||April 15, 2017||3||5:00||Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Loss||12–2||Raphael Assunção||Decision (split)||UFC on Fox: Shevchenko vs. Peña||January 28, 2017||3||5:00||Denver, Colorado, United States|
|Loss||12–1||Bryan Caraway||Decision (split)||UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Garbrandt||May 29, 2016||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||12–0||Johnny Eduardo||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs. VanZant||December 10, 2015||2||4:18||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||11–0||Takeya Mizugaki||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold||April 18, 2015||3||2:11||Newark, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||10–0||Hugo Viana||TKO (punches)||UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller||July 16, 2014||3||3:50||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||9–0||Cody Gibson||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 170||February 22, 2014||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||8–0||Joel Roberts||Submission (rear-naked choke)||CFFC 30: Sterling vs. Roberts||November 2, 2013||1||1:49||King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, United States||Defended the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||7–0||Sidemar Honorio||Submission (rear-naked choke)||CFFC 16: Williams vs. Jacoby||August 24, 2012||2||4:05||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Defended the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||6–0||Casey Johnson||Submission (rear-naked choke)||CFFC 14: No Mercy||April 14, 2012||3||2:11||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Defended the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||5–0||Sean Santella||Decision (unanimous)||CFFC 11: Danger Zone!||October 22, 2011||5||5:00||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Won the CFFC Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||4–0||Evan Chmielski||TKO (punches)||CFFC 10: Black Eye||July 23, 2011||1||4:58||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Featherweight bout.|
|Win||3–0||Claudio Ledesma||Decision (split)||Ring of Combat 36||June 17, 2011||3||5:00||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Won the Ring of Combat Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||2–0||Harley Leimbach||Submission (rear-naked choke)||EFC: Bragging Rights 2||May 21, 2011||1||4:01||Erie, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||1–0||Sergio da Silva||Decision (unanimous)||UCC 4: Supremacy||April 22, 2011||3||5:00||Morristown, New Jersey, United States|
- Michael Rothstein (June 2, 2019). "Wrestling allowed Aljamain Sterling to make his own path". espn.com.
- "Fight Card - UFC Fight Night Machida vs. Rockhold". UFC.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
- Amy Kaplan (August 4, 2019). "Aljamain Sterling earns Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt". fansided.com.
- Eric Holden (February 3, 2015). "Aljamain Sterling on UFC Newark: 'You know why I'm here'". axs.com.
- "Rankings | UFC". www.ufc.com. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
- Mike Heck (May 20, 2020). "Aljamain Sterling feels 'pretty good' about odds he'll fight next for UFC bantamweight title". mmafighting.com.
- Mark Daniels (2011-06-22). "Aljamain Sterling on a similar path to success as mentor UFC Champ Jon Jones". MMAdiehards.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Joe Myers (2014-04-02). "Sherdog Prospect Watch: Aljamain Sterling". Sherdog.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "A Red Dragon Uncaged". cortland.edu. December 1, 2017.
- "Aljamain Sterling "Funk Master"". mixedmartialarts.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "Ring of Combat XXXVI Official Results". mixedmartialarts.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Mike Whitman (2014-01-29). "Aljamain Sterling Replaces Injured Bryan Caraway, Faces Lucas Martins at UFC 170". MMAdiehards.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Guilherme Cruz (2014-02-12). "Cody Gibson replaces Lucas Martins, will face Aljamain Sterling at UFC 170". MMAfighting.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Steven Marrocco (2014-02-22). "UFC 170 results: Aljamain Sterling hangs on to beat Cody Gibson". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- MMAjunkie Staff (2014-04-23). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Hugo Viana added to UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Cody Rempel (2014-07-31). "UFC Fight Night 54: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine – Halifax – October 4". TopMMANews.com. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
- Staff (2014-09-08). "Rob Font replaces Aljamain Sterling, faces Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night in Halifax". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2014-09-08.
- Dana Becker (2014-10-13). "UFC Fight Night 55 adds Aljamain Sterling-Frankie Saenz". fightline.com. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
- Keith Grienke (2014-10-26). "Imperato Joins UFC To Face Sterling at UFC Fight Night 55". TopMMANews.com. Retrieved 2014-10-26.
- Keith Grienke (2014-10-26). "UFC Rescinds Offer to Michael Imperato". topmmanews.com.
- Thomas Gerbasi (2014-10-29). "Changes hit Sydney card". ufc.com. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
- Staff (2015-01-08). "Manny Gamburyan vs. Aljamain Sterling added to UFC on FOX 15 in April". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
- Damon Martin (2015-02-03). "Manny Gamburyan out; Takeya Mizugaki now faces Aljamain Sterling in New Jersey". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
- Luke Thomas (2015-09-28). "Aljamain Sterling to face Johnny Eduardo at UFC Fight Night 80". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
- Mike Bohn (2015-12-10). "UFC Fight Night 80 results: Aljamain Sterling takes down, taps out Johnny Eduardo". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
- Dana Becker (2016-03-31). "Aljamain Sterling gets his wish, will face Bryan Caraway at UFN 88". fightline.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- Dave Doyle (2016-05-29). "UFC Fight Night 88 results: Bryan Caraway rallies past Aljamain Sterling". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
- Brett Okamoto (2016-10-10). "Raphael Assuncao-Aljamain Sterling added to UFC Fight Night in Dec". espn.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
- John Morgan (2016-11-24). "Aljamain Sterling out at UFC Fight Night 102, promotion needs U.S.-based foe for Raphael Assuncao". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- Guilherme Cruz (2016-11-28). "Raphael Assuncao removed from UFC Albany card after Aljamain Sterling injury". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
- Ariel Helwani (2016-12-07). "Raphael Assuncao vs. Aljamian Sterling slated for UFC on Fox 23". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- Ben Fowlkes (2017-01-28). "UFC on FOX 23 results: Raphael Assuncao outpaces Aljamian Sterling for decision victory". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- Dan Hiergesell (2017-03-18). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Augusto Mendes added to UFC on Fox 24 on April 15". mmamania.com. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
- Steven Marrocco (2017-04-15). "UFC on FOX 24 results: Aljamain Sterling shows all-around skills, rebounds to beat Augusto Mendes". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-04-15.
- Damon Martin (2017-05-24). "Renan Barao returns to bantamweight, faces Aljamain Sterling at UFC 214". foxsports.com. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
- Tristen Critchfield (2017-06-28). "CSAC denies Barao license at bantamweight; UFC 214 bout vs. Sterling now set for 140 pounds". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
- Steven Marrocco (2017-07-29). "UFC 214 results: Aljamain Sterling scores big win over Renan Barao at 140-pound catchweight". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
- Staff (2017-10-18). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Rani Yahya added to UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
- "Aljamain Sterling needs new opponent for UFC-Fresno with Rani Yahya forced out". MMAjunkie. 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
- "Aljamain Sterling gets Marlon Moraes as UFC-Fresno replacement opponent". MMAjunkie. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-18.
- "UFC Fight Night 123 results: Marlon Moraes KOs Aljamain Sterling with ridiculous knee". MMAjunkie. 2017-12-10. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
- Staff (2018-02-08). "Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns set for UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
- "UFC Fight Night 128 results: Aljamain Sterling dominates previously unbeaten Brett Johns". MMAjunkie. 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
- Mark Francescutti (2018-07-18). "UFC 228 in Dallas bouts revealed". sportsday.dallasnews.com. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
- "UFC 228 results: Aljamain Sterling shines with incredible submission of Cody Stamann". MMAjunkie. 2018-09-09. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
- DNA, MMA. "Lang verwachte partij tussen Jimmie Rivera en Aljamain Sterling tijdens UFC Phoenix". Retrieved 2018-12-12.
- "UFC on ESPN 1 results: Aljamain Sterling scintillating, shuts out Jimmie Rivera". MMAjunkie. 2019-02-18. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
- Staff (2019-04-05). "UFC sets Pedro Munhoz x Aljamain Sterling for the same card of Moraes x Cejudo" (in Portuguese). sportv.globo.com. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
- "UFC 238 results: Aljamain Sterling dismantles Pedro Munhoz, calls for title shot". MMA Junkie. 2019-06-09. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
- "Aljamain Sterling vs. Cory Sandhagen Targeted For UFC 250". MMA News. 2020-05-21. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
- Fernando Quiles, Jr. (June 6, 2020). "UFC President Dana White Confirms Sterling vs. Sandhagen Is Title Eliminator". MMANews.com.
- Damon Martin (June 6, 2020). "UFC 250 results: Aljamain Sterling chokes out Cory Sandhagen in statement performance". MMAFighting.com. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- Anderson, Jay (2020-06-07). "UFC 250 Bonuses: No Fight of the Night, O'Malley, Garbrandt Among Winners". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
- Mike Bohn (January 4, 2019). "MMAjunkie's 2018 'Submission of the Year': A little 'strudel' with your stretch". mmajunkie.com.
- "MMA Junkie's 'Submission of the Month' for June: The 'Human Backpack' strikes again". mmajunkie.com. July 2, 2020.
- Sherdog.com. "Aljamain". Sherdog. Retrieved 2020-06-07.