Published by Fran Cava
CORTLAND, NY- In what is being named one of the best cards in UFC history already, this Saturday night SUNY Cortland’s Aljamain Sterling 12’, will be taking on Russian mixed martial arts Bantamweight Champion, Peter Yan at UFC 259.
The event is being held at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas Nevada. Sterling will be participating in one of three title fights slotted in the first March fight card of 2021.
The UFC’s Bantamweight division, groups fighters within the 126-135 lb. range, currently being led by the one-loss Petr Yan. Yan has torn up the division with his Muay Thai fighting style, which primarily has him striking from an upright stance like a boxer.
The fight has been heavily promoted on various media outlets such as ESPN, CBS, and Forbes. The news of the former Red Dragon fighter has students in Cortland looking forward to watching their school be represented on the big stage.
“I just got into UFC recently, so it’s pretty cool to see a guy from my division three school fight for a title belt, “said Michael Ferenczi, a junior at SUNY Cortland studying physical education. “I found out about him here, after one of my professors, Mr.Bauer, mentioned he was in our major a few years back.”
After winning his last five fights, three of which were by unanimous decision, Aljamain has asserted himself as the number one contender for the UFC Bantamweight title. This fight was supposed to occur in the Fall at UFC 256 but was rescheduled to this week’s paper view due to the champion, Peter Yan, pulling out for visa problems.
While studying for his bachelor’s degree in physical education at SUNY Cortland, Sterling began training with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones out of Ithaca, NY. While becoming a two-time NCAA Division III All-American Wrestler and cruising to a total record of 87-27 as a Red Dragon, Sterling also began fighting professionally at low-level mixed martial arts competitions.
He then went on to fight in the Cage Fury Fighting Championships, where he made a name for himself quickly becoming the organization’s Bantamweight Champion. He successfully defended his title three times, using that momentum to fuel his UFC debut in 2014.
Since then, he has established himself as a submission style fighter that looks to draw his opponents to the ground, earning Performance of the night last year for his first-round submission on Cory Sandhagen as an underdog. This dominant performance is what caused UFC Owner, Dana White, to take notice and schedule Aljamian for a title fight.
Aljamain is the latest Cortland Alumni to make headway in the world of UFC, following the likes of Tamdan McCrory 08’ and Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Famer, Mark Staniszewski 95’. That’s not even mentioning the handful of coaches and trainers involved in the UFC today, who have graduated from SUNY Cortland over the past 20 years.