Aljamain Sterling is never going back to 135 pounds.
The former bantamweight champion never hid the fact that it was tough for him to hit bantamweight during his title reign. But now that he’s moving up to featherweight, he’s opening up on just how horrible those weight cuts were.
“Just the thought of it gives me a headache and makes me nauseous,” Sterling said on the latest episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “Like, people tell me I wear it well and I don’t look like I’m hurting, ‘Oh, you had such a great weight cut.’ I’m like, I am literally dying inside.”
“I could poker face it all I want, because mentally, that’s just the way I’ve always been. It’s like, you don’t show weakness in that way. You always try to show people that you’re good even when you’re not. But I know I’ve been hurting for a very, very long time. And I even think my past performances have kind of not been the best of me because of that.”
Sterling’s Instagram account always got pretty intense around his fights. Not only was “Funkmaster” in shape, he was shedding off every percentage of body fat he could. That may have come with a price later in his career.
“I just think I lose a little bit of myself and leave a little bit of myself in the gym,” he said. “Cardio-wise, I don’t have the same output as I used to. And I’m kind of excited to just see what that’s going to look like at ‘45 and see if I can get back to that — that guy who’s in between rounds and is able to talk to the fans and yell to the crowd, and just show I’m full of energy and I’m ready to go.”
Sterling takes on Calvin Kattar at UFC 300, where he’ll go from former main event fighter to prelim co-main. Just kidding. That’s not a thing. He’s the second last prelim before the pay-per-view starts. He didn’t comment on placement but is hopeful a win over Kattar gets him in the hunt for the 145-pound title.
“He’s the highest ranked out of the four that they offered, and I think if I beat him and I beat him the way that I think I’m capable of doing, I think I’m right next in line for title shot. I don’t think that’s too far fetched of a thing. You look at the guys at the top, they already fought for the belt. It Volkanovski wins again, I think the door’s wide open.”
Regardless of what happens on April 13th, Aljamain Sterling is already happy with what he’s accomplished with his career.
“I hit all my goals. Now it’s, how high can I go?” he declared. “How many more mountains can I climb and see what I could do before it’s all said and done?”