Fri. May 13th, 2022

Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling will meet again for the title at UFC 273 in April

Ex-UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan has fired back at claims of being a sore loser made by Aljamain Sterling, vowing to “beat the living sh*t” out of the division’s current ruler when they meet at UFC 273.

With just over three weeks until one of the most anticipated rematches in the elite MMA championship’s history, the pair have reignited their goading and trash-talking on social media.  

“In order to grow you need to accept your losses like a man,” Sterling originally taunted Yan on Twitter, sharing a gif of the Russian raising his hand after their first meeting despite being disqualified for an illegal knee strike.

Simultaneously, Sterling dug up a tweet of Yan claiming to be the “Undisputed UFC bantamweight champion” in late October despite winning the interim crown. 

“The first step in the process of healing is accepting your shortcomings. In other words, bro, you lost!” Sterling added.

Catching wind of the taunts, Yan quote-tweeted Sterling too, and had his own gif of the Jamaican-American sobbing in his post-fight interview after becoming champion.

“At least I didn’t lose my dignity like you,” Yan mocked.

“I can envision [you] crying after our next fight again. I will beat the living sh*t out of you, dog. Looking forward to your healing process,” Yan signed off.

The duo first faced off just over a year ago at UFC 259 in Abu Dhabi, with defending champ Yan relinquishing the spoils when disqualified for an illegal knee on his grounded foe.

They have maintained a long-running social media beef ever since, with Yan routinely accusing Sterling of Oscar-worthy play-acting to snatch the belt from him as Sterling has accused his Russian adversary of doping and teased him over his vaccine status.

A rematch between the two was shelved after Sterling required neck surgery. And while Sterling is still yet to defend the 135lbs strap, Yan has since become the interim champion by seeing off contender Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 in October.

This meant that there was no longer anywhere to hide for Sterling, with UFC president Dana White commissioning the fight for April 9 at UFC 273. Yet Yan’s preparations could be hampered by visa issues before the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena event in Jacksonville, Florida.

Though Yan reportedly has a three-year American visa, reports have claimed that members of Yan’s corner have been denied visas which has led to suggestions that retired lightweight legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, often seen in the corners of fighters such as Islam Makhachev, could step in.

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Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling will do battle again later this year. © Zuffa LLC
Russian UFC destroyer Yan trades insults with title rival after vaccine claims

Yan confirmed the visa developments to Championat, saying that Kairat [Nurmagombetov] and Andrei “could not get visas” and were “denied” by the US embassy while he trains in Thailand before heading to the US.

“Therefore, I don’t know who will be in my corner yet,” Yan confessed. “This is very important and it matters a lot who is in your corner, who prompts, who leads.

“It’s a shame that the boys won’t be able to fly, but the fight is fundamental, and I need to fly [there] and win. Even if I have to fly alone, I will fly alone,” Yan, who will at least be accompanied by manager Sayat Abdrakhmanov, guaranteed.

Sterling v Yan II will share top billing with featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski’s third defense against ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung.

Elsewhere on the card, up-and-coming welterweight Khamzat Chimaev takes on former title challenger Gilbert Burns in the toughest challenge of his 10-0 career.