Aljamain Sterling spoke to MMA Crazy ahead of his upcoming bout against Brett Johns at UFC Fight Night Atlantic City, April 21st.
Aljamain first spoke about the busy past couple of weeks cornering his team mate Al Iaquinta as he stepped up on short notice to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in Brooklyn. Anthony Pettis had asked for more money and Paul Felder was not ranked leading the UFC to pick Iaquinta to replace Max Holloway in the main event. “That was an experience of a lifetime I think, you can’t make that kind of sh*t up, you can’t script that and Al is such a G you know, he stepped up like. Once he found out he told these guys right away he wanted to fight no hesitation, like dude I know I’m your guy and they were trying to find anyway to go around him. Thank goodness everything worked out I guess you can kind of thank Conor for setting that up because I think Chiesa would of got the shot over Al just based off him having a win over Al winning the show and being ranked higher.”
Having gone five rounds and coming up short with Khabib, Sterling believes there are still positives Al Iaquinta can take from the fight and with a full training camp, Khabib wouldn’t land as many strikes as he did. “Al showed that Khabib is really human in there, where Khabib looked unstoppable against all these other top contenders,” he explained.
Coming off a tough loss himself to Marlon Moraes back in December, Sterling doesn’t think the knockout effected him, putting it down to an unfortunate mistake on his part. “I made a mistake, I don’t think Marlon did anything spectacular, he threw a switch kick looking to throw it to the body coming in and I just happened to be dumb enough to shoot because I was just so excited to get the fight back to the floor because I think, I know I can submit that guy.” Despite the loss, Sterling still believes he is the best grappler in the division and is keen to prove that when he takes on Brett Johns next. “I know if I get my hands locked at any particular moment in this fight, Brett is going to get, not Khabib time because it will be so much worse, I know for a fact its going to be so much worse. I know what Im doing and I know what Im capable of and Im really excited because I think Brett is not going to quit, I think he’s going to bring the best out of me and bring the best performance out of me to date and Im excited for that. I hope he’s ready for a war because I know I am.”
Aljamain Sterling predicts a second round submission win over Johns to put him back into the win column April 21st. “I think he’s going to get desperate, I think he’s going to shoot a sloppy shot trying to get the fight to the ground and I think he’s going to leave his neck out there, and if he leaves his neck out there, Im going to be like a fricking Viper and Im going to snatch that thing up in a heart beat.”