Sterling ‘Was Probably Done’ With A Loss At UFC 300

 Kattar v Sterling
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 300 could have been the last time we saw Aljmain Sterling inside the Octagon.

The former Bantamweight champion made his debut at Featherweight on the historic night against divisional staple, Calvin Kattar, this past weekend (April 13, 2024). Fortunately for Sterling, he got back in the win column with a one-sided unanimous decision.

Sterling’s move to 145 pounds came directly after he dropped the title to Sean O’Malley via a second round technical knockout (watch highlights) at UFC 292 this past August 2023. Had things again gone south for Sterling in his most recent outing, that could have been it in mixed martial arts (MMA) for the “Funk Master.”

“Fight day in the back room was when I really started to second guess a lot of everything,” Sterling said on The MMA Hour. “I was just having doubts of, like, ‘Man, if this doesn’t go well, I don’t know where I go from here. Do I continue to keep fighting? Or do I just call it quits?’ [That] kind of thing. And those were real thoughts I had. Because I’m like, at the end of the day, I’m not just trying to just collect a check. There’s so many guys who stick around just to do that. I respect them, but I’m here to be number one, man.

“If it’s just like, I’m just going to be in the pack?” he continued. “I made enough money, I think I’ve done enough with my career where I’m like, ‘Alright, it’s probably time to find a new job.’ That’s kind of the way I look at things. If you’re not first, you’re kind of last.”

Sterling, 34, has arguably been one of the most underappreciated fighters and champions of the past six years. The O’Malley loss is Sterling’s lone setback in a stretch of 11 fights (24-4 overall). Ultimately, Sterling is around to be the best and that means continuing his pursuit of a second divisional title.

“It depends on how it would’ve happened,” Sterling said. “I think if I had got my ass completely kicked by Calvin Kattar, I was probably done. And no one knew about that. I didn’t share those sentiments with anybody, even my fiancee. It’s just one of those things. I mentioned to her like, ‘Well, if I can’t beat him, I don’t know,’ but I didn’t really go into detail what that actually meant. I just kind of said it, like, ‘We’ll see what happens. I don’t know what’s going to happen.’ That’s kind of the way I kept it with everybody.

“My internal thoughts were, ‘This guy is good, but if I’m claiming to be who I think I am and who I want to be, man, I feel like I should be able to beat a guy like this. If I can’t, then how am I ever going to expect to beat the guy who’s sitting on top of the throne right now?’” he concluded.

For complete UFC 300 results and LIVE play-by-play click HERE.