The UFC seem to have no more patience with Alyamain Sterling. After the bantamweight champion once again canceled his rematch against Peter Yan, which was scheduled for October 30 at the UFC 267 event, a temporary championship belt comes into play, for which Yan and Cory Sandhagen will fight on that date.
When canceling the fight, Sterling revealed that he was not injured, explaining that the doctors did not allow him to perform because he was still feeling the consequences of the surgery. He expressed a desire to fight in December, but added that he still could not be one hundred percent sure that everything would be fine then.
Yan immediately asked for a replacement opponent when the fight was canceled, and the UFC decided to do so. Cory Sandhagen actually immediately upon Sterling’s cancellation offered to jump into the fight and it will happen.
He was defeated by TJ Dillashaw in July, but by a split decision in a fight where it would not have been unfair if the victory had gone to him. As Dillashaw thus secured the position of challenger for the right title, it was certainly not in his interest to jump into this fight without a full training camp.
Sandhagen is definitely the best choice in such a case.
Although Yan already held the title in his possession, this will be his second best-ranked opponent in his career, after Sterling, who took his title at the expense of an illegal kick that hit the Russian in the fourth round of their spring fight.
Sterling has come to an unenviable position with a large number of fans, as they believe he pretended to be unable to continue the fight, all with the aim of winning the title. The constant postponements of the rematch, initially due to going to surgery, and now also due to the prolonged recovery, are something that in this case does not go in his favor at all, and in fact more people are turning away from themselves.
The only chance to prove himself as a true champion is a clear victory against Yan, but that fight must come first. Yan and Sandhagen will thus be charged for the temporary belt, and the option that it will become real over time, if Sterling is out of the machine for some time, is not ruled out.
In that case, taking away the title certainly becomes a realistic option. This is likely to happen if Sterling cancels the next contracted fight again or delays contracting it for too long. UFC 267 is being held in Abu Dhabi and is led by a fight for the light heavyweight title between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.