Newly-crowned UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling is expected to miss quite a bit of time before making his first title defense. Sterling announced on his podcast The Weekly Scraps, and told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, that he will have to undergo neck surgery and if all goes according to plan, he could return around 5-6 months.
Sterling told ESPN that he has a herniated disk in his neck, after issues that have lingered for 10 years throughout his career, and the procedure in his neck will operate on his C6-C7 vertebrate. After the procedure, doctors have suggested that Sterling will need to ease back into competition and they’ll need to see his neck is completely fused before he can return to active competition.
“They told me I will heal in three months and can start doing cardio to get myself ready. They wouldn’t want to see me take a fight until they see everything has fused in my neck correctly. Five months would be ideal, if I heal up really quickly. I’m excited. The faster I heal up, the faster I can fight. We’ll find out in the next three months, and get something on schedule.”
Following the announcement of Aljamain Sterling’s surgery, former bantamweight champion Petr Yan, who has built a rivalry with Sterling throughout their first fight and afterward, has called for Sterling to be stripped of the title.
Just strip this laughing stock from the title https://t.co/aG6cHxIH8Y
— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) April 9, 2021
Sterling claimed the bantamweight championship after Yan was disqualified for throwing an illegal knee late in their fight at UFC 259 last month. The disqualification was Yan’s second professional loss in his career, his first during his UFC tenure, and first in over five years.
There was plenty of controversy following Aljamain Sterling’s victory, from criticism coming towards Sterling and his coaching staff, to the fact that he has made it clear he is no rush for a rematch and believes Yan should have been suspended for throwing the illegal strike.