Aljamain Sterling is proud to be a fighter, but that doesn’t mean he will just run blindly in an event against an opponent without being well prepared.
As the UFC continues to move forward with the cards coming amid the coronavirus pandemic, many fighters have volunteered to participate in the short term despite less than optimal conditions in their training camps.
Most states across America have instituted stay-at-home orders with closed non-essential businesses, including gyms. This forces fighters to be more creative in order to stay fit and prepared for all potential opportunities.
Most recently, Sterling was attached to a fight against Cory Sandhagen at an event scheduled for May 16. After the first revelation of the news, Sterling took on the rumors because he was not going to face anyone without an appropriate training camp and given the current climate, it was practically impossible. Even Sandhagen conceded that as long as he wanted to fight, there was no way he was properly trained for a confrontation with Sterling on May 16.
Now that the UFC continues to build more and more maps with a global pandemic still raging, Sterling explains why he was unwilling to just be cautious and accept a fight because he was given it offered one.
“I think Cory and I are on the same page with the type of mentality we have. Championship mindset, “said Sterling in a speech to MMA Fighting. “We both know that we must prepare properly for each other if we are the next to lock the horns inside the Octagon. Whoever it is, I want to be well prepared. I don’t take any opponent in the UFC lightly. I learned my lesson by doing it once and I don’t want to do it again.
“That’s why you’re considered dummies in any sport because you’re just saying that the fighters are fighting. It’s not true. Fighters don’t just fight. Not the good ones who have a long, long success. The guys who run championship races. The guys fighting for the world titles. They get spiked, chewed and spit like a revolving door, then the next guy or the next woman comes in to take their place. ”
According to Sterling, every fight offered to him comes down to a risk against a reward, and facing an opponent like Sandhagen without a real training camp just doesn’t make much sense to him.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t see many other fighters on the UFC list taking a similar approach, which is why someone will always be ready to take that place.
“This is what no one understands, we cannot get anywhere as a whole, as a unit, because we are all on the same wavelength because everyone is doing it alone,” said Sterling. ” I understand. You have to earn money. I need to make money. I haven’t fought in almost a year at this point. But there comes a time when you have to look at a situation and analyze and go and it’s not in my interest to do so.
“Do you think the UFC is going to owe you a favor when you intervene on short notice when no one else does?” There is a reason why many of us do not. If you want to be that scapegoat, and think you owe the UFC good luck with that. Let me know how it goes. “
Sterling knows that the UFC deals like business and he has to look at his career through that same set of lenses when these offers are made to him.
“As history has shown, I don’t think the UFC wants to do other people any favors,” said Sterling. “Their mission is to make the UFC. I think Cory and I have the right mindset. Whosoever I am fighting at this point, I want to make sure that we are both the best versions of ourselves and that it is certainly not May 16 or anytime in April. It will be when my training partners have helped me get to the show and when I can properly and confidently prepare for the Octagon.
“I think anyone with half a brain should be able to understand this logic. I hope I am clear about this. There are certain things called risk for reward and this is not the risk you want to take because the reward is not a guarantee at this point. If this is a short-term fight where the two guys have not trained and there is a title shot at stake, guaranteed in writing on the table, I am ready to roll the dice on it. Not just fighting because I need money. It is not worth the trouble. ”
With the coronavirus pandemic threatening more and more events to come, Sterling does not know for sure when he can fight again, but he knows that this is not the time.
He is more than happy to take a risk for the right opportunity, but that is not what is on offer right now, which is why Sterling is happy to sit and wait for him to come back in training to book his next fight.
“It is not a race. It’s a marathon, “said Sterling. “MMA is not one of those top-down basketball seasons where you have a ton of games and you can still play in the playoffs. It doesn’t work like that in MMA. You get some losses, you wash, you slam the door behind you and they bring the next person behind you who is here to take your place. So you have to be smart with your decision making and the risks you take. ”
“You have to be cool so that your ego doesn’t hinder and deflate your opportunities because you decide to jump the gun on something that seemed like an opportunity and you wanted to show everyone” oh I am so bad ass, i took a fight. “People don’t care. They care if you win or lose, that’s all they care about. What have you been doing for me lately? When was the last time you won? How did you win? And that’s all people think about it. This is the risk against the reward. There are intelligent risks and calculated risks. “