Bantamweight contender Adrian Yanez doesn’t believe Aljamain Sterling should be up for the division’s belt next.
‘Funkmaster‘s impressive title run finally came to its conclusion at UFC 292, meeting his match in Sean O’Malley after being stopped in the second round. ‘Sugar‘ connected a perfectly-timed right cross with a rapidly approaching Sterling, reminiscent of Conor McGregor’s title-clinching knockout of José Aldo.
Sterling had originally won the belt in controversial fashion, overcoming Petr Yan via DQ due to an illegal knee. The American, however, successfully defended his belt three times against elite competition in Yan, T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo.
Adrian Yanez Discusses The Next Title Challenger
Following UFC 292, a stacked bantamweight division has now been split wide open in terms of potential matchups.
O’Malley has a plethora of options regarding upcoming title challengers. Adrian Yanez believes there is a number of enticing possibilities within the division he competes in.
He told Middle Easy: “I feel like Cory Sandhagen should be the next fight [for Sean O’Malley]. But, I know he’s injured and I know he’s recovering.
“I don’t know where Merab [Dvalishvili] is at. So, that kind of leaves him out a little bit. Uh, I’m not sure if he can train at full capacity just yet, if he’s able to turn around and do December.
“I think the only two matchups, I guess that kind of really makes sense for December would probably be either Henry [Cejudo] or Chito [Vera]. If I’m being honest with you, I feel like if you take a quite a bit of time off and you come back, you fight, you lose, I feel like you shouldn’t be getting that next shot.
“If Cory was healthy right now, he’d be next in line, or if Merab was healthy right now, he’d for sure be the next in line.”
Cory Sandhagen suffered a ‘fully torn tricep’ following his dominative victory against Rob Font at UFC Nashville several weeks ago. The #4 ranked bantamweight wanted another shot at the belt in the near future, however it looks like he will have to wait patiently for his chance.
Yanez On Sterling’s Next Fight
Sterling has already fought his case for an immediate sequel to the O’Malley fight following his loss in Boston. ‘Funkmaster‘ certainly has the resume to back up another title shot, having cleared the majority of the division as champion.
Yanez, however, feels the 34-year-old may need to prove himself once more before stepping in to another championship bout.
He said: “Aljo? It’s weird. I feel like if a lot of these guys, if they get finished and they get finished definitively, I feel like you should get one [win] and then come and then be able to fight for your title.
“Like for Max Holloway, he won in his run, he lost to Volkanovski, he got the immediate rematch— I felt like that was warranted. I feel like your title reign has to be a little bit longer, instead of like three fights.
He continued: “I don’t know. I feel like if you just held the belt once, like you won the belt, you lost the belt, I don’t think you should get an immediate rematch.
“Going back as an example, like when Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw fought, like Cody won the belt off of Dominick, fought TJ, lost to him, but then they gave him an immediate rematch … that’s what I’m trying to get at.”
Do you agree with Adrian Yanez? Who should be next in line for the Bantamweight title? Let us know in the comments!
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