There are a lot of great fighters on the UFC 170 card, not the least of which are the ladies who make up the main event – Olympians Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann. But as always, there will be a few faces stepping into the Octagon who won’t set off any sparks of recognition for the fans. And that’s normal. UFC 100’s star-studded affair will likely be the only card ever where everyone was already a superhero. However, there is one person who deserves a closer look tonight, and the reason for the additional scrutiny will become apparent almost immediately. The person is Aljamain Sterling, and the prelim card fighter warrants a your attention for one simple reason: he’s one very bad dude.
No, really, Sterling, a.k.a., “Funkmaster Aljo”, is a seriously talented fighter, and up until now, has been one of the worst-kept secrets of the Northeast fight circuit. Why does he have this hype behind him? Never mind that his record is a pretty respectable 8-0 as a pro and 6-1 as an amateur, and disregard that fact that he’s a stud wrestler with an insane amount of athleticism. Sterling has hype because his game – and uncanny ability to switch gears and go into hyperdrive – makes him look like another ace fighter who came out of the Northeast (and who hailed from the same camp as Sterling before Sterling switched to the Matt Serra/Ray Longo camp). That fighter? Jon Jones.
Sterling is creative in the cage, and seemingly not bound by the same laws of physics and genetic limitations other fighters face. He’s not supposed to be easily tapping out jiu-jitsu black belts from Brazil, but that’s what he does. He’s not supposed to be making more experienced fighters look like rookies, but that’s what he does. And the amazing thing is that he accomplished these things earlier on in his career.
If he’s so good, why haven’t you seen Sterling in the UFC sooner? The answer to that inevitable question lies with the torn labrum that had to be repaired, an injury that forced him to sit out for over a year.
If you need further proof of just how good he is, watch these videos. Then, if Sterling’s performance on Saturday night doesn’t impress you, well, I’d offer to refund your money, but you’ll probably just buy more crack with it.