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Aljamain Sterling is seen on stage during the UFC 273 press conference
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Aljamain Sterling Gives His Thoughts On Bantamweight Contenders

Heading Into His Co-Main Event Bout Against TJ Dillashaw At UFC 280, Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling Breaks Down The Bantamweight Division

On October 22, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has a chance to secure his second successful title defense against TJ Dillashaw in UFC 280’s co-main event in Abu Dhabi.

Coming off an impressive performance against Petr Yan at UFC 273 back in April, Sterling has had time to sit back and watch the bantamweight division unfold. With top contenders Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Vera collecting wins this summer, Sterling provides his thoughts on UFC’s ranked 135ers one month before his highly anticipated bout.

15 – Jack Shore

Last Result: Submission loss vs Ricky Simon at UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs Rodriguez

“I can tell you one thing for sure; he’s got some good skills. Mostly a grappler. He surely got finished but I think he can surely get back."

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14 – Adrian Yanez

Last Result: TKO victory vs Tony Kelley at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett

“He’s a heavy hitter, that guy can throw some bombs. I think he’s somebody that people are going to be very interested in watching for a very long time.”

Bantamweight Breakdown With Aljamain Sterling | September 2022
Bantamweight Breakdown With Aljamain Sterling | September 2022
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13 – Umar Nurmagomedov

Last Result: Unanimous decision victory vs Nate Maness at UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot

“The young eagle, the young prospect. A lot of people have a lot of hype around this guy. I think any good old fashioned American wrestling is going to be able to handle a guy like that.”

12 – Sean O’Malley

Last Result: No contest (accidental eye poke) vs Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier

“He’s more of the hammer; we haven’t seen him as the nail yet. We saw when he hurt his little leg, he kind of collapsed and went ‘night night’ real quick from one shot from “Mr. Chito”. I think he’s good. but maybe the hype can be a little too much.”

RELATED: Sean O'Malley's Greatest Hits | Islam Makhachev's Win Streak

11 – Frankie Edgar

Last Result: KO loss vs Marlon Vera at UFC 268: Usman vs Covington 2

“I look up to a guy like that and he’s one of the guys I mirrored my style off of in the early beginning just to learn from him. [He’s a] legend of the sport.”

10 – Ricky Simon

Last Result: Submission victory vs Jack Shore at UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs Rodriguez

“I think he really turned a new leaf and elevated his game when he got rid of that stupid mullet. I think that’s what really helped turn it on for him. As soon as he cut the mullet off, his game got better exponentially.”

9 – Yadong Song

Last Result: TKO loss vs Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song

Song Yadong reacts after his knockout victory over Marlon Moraes in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX

Song Yadong reacts after his knockout victory over Marlon Moraes in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 12, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


“I mean he knocked out Marlon Moraes. At this point, who hasn’t? This is coming from a guy who’s been knocked out by Marlon. I don’t know if there’s anything too spectacular about the guy.”

8 – Pedro Munhoz

Last Result: No contest (accidental eye poke) vs Sean O’Malley at UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier

“You get a guy like that in front of you, just know he’s ain’t going nowhere…this guy is the definition of a fighter.”

7 – Dominick Cruz

Last Result: KO loss vs Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz

“Another legend of the sport. When I first watched him on the scene in the WEC, I was super blown away by his skills.”

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6 – Rob Font

Last Result: Unanimous decision loss to Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night: Font vs Vera

“I think he’s a little one-dimensional and a I think maybe a little chinny at this point. Some of those shots man, it looked like it shouldn’t have done what it did…if he rounds out his game a bit more he can get back in the Top 5 picture.”

5 – Marlon Vera

Last Result: KO victory vs Dominick Cruz and UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz

Marlon Vera punches Dominick Cruz in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pechanga Arena

Marlon Vera punches Dominick Cruz in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pechanga Arena on August 13, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


“I don’t think he’s a specialist in any particular area, but I think what makes him dangerous is that he’s a gamer and he’s willing to put it on the line when he steps in that Octagon.”

4 – Cory Sandhagen

Last Result: TKO victory vs Yadong Song at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song

“I think he’s going to struggle with guys that wrestle. I think if it’s a kickboxing fight, we’ve seen what he did to TJ [Dillashaw]. I think he still won the fight against TJ.”

RELATED: UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song Results & Post-Fight Interviews

3 – Merab Dvalishvili

Last Result: Unanimous decision victory vs José Aldo at UFC 278: Usman vs Edwards 2

“This guy’s just a bulldozer, a juggernaut. He runs through people. He will literally shoot 20 something times, he’ll take you down 20 times, and he’ll just let you up so he can take you down again and dump you on your ass.”

2 – TJ Dillashaw

T.J. Dillashaw reacts after his split-decision victory over Corey Sandhagen in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX

T.J. Dillashaw reacts after his split-decision victory over Corey Sandhagen in their bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 24, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


“The new CEO of EPO is TJ Dillaroids. He’s a tough dude but I don’t think he’s done anything in his career fairly. I really do think he’s cheated for all his career…I’m expecting him to come in there doing what he needs to do to win, which is cheat. I plan on just being the better man that night.”

1 – Petr Yan

Last Result: Split decision loss vs Aljamain Sterling at UFC 273: Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie

“I think he’s a smart, intellectual fighter. He’s dangerous…but I think he struggles with guys who have really good footwork and can avoid his shots.

“I think he’s going to be around for a while, I think we’ll potentially fight for a third time, maybe even a fourth. I do think the next time we fight it’s going to be a little bit different. This one, I needed to do what I needed to do to shut everybody the f*** up.”

Don't Miss A Moment Of UFC 280: Oliveira vs Makhachev, Live From Etihad Arena In Abu Dhabi. Prelims Begin at 10am ET/7am PT, While The Main Card Kicks Off At 2pm ET/11am PT.