Sterling and Yan are expected to rematch for the UFC Bantamweight title later this year.
Sterling may have captured the gold via disqualification, but he says Petr Yan is the real paper champ.
His legitimacy as Bantamweight king has been questioned from the get-go. “Funkmaster” was awarded the crown after Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee landed in round four of their fight at UFC 259.
Sterling (20-3) matched up his resume to Yan’s (15-2) in a recent press scrum.
“He had a layup. That was the worst performance that I could remember in a very long time, and he had a slam dunk to bring it home and solidify everything and shut up all the critics for himself because he never fought anyone in the top five. I fought three guys in the top five,” told reporters at UFC 264 (h/t MMAjunkie) on Sat., July 10. “I beat them all, but I’m the paper champ? It’s ironic, but at the end of the day, I think this is a blessing in disguise. I feel good, I feel healthy, and I can’t wait to just remind the world that what I’ve done was no accident and what he’s done, he got here with the Dana White privilege (a term coined by Tony Ferguson), and I can’t wait to shut him up.”