UFC 292: Aljamain Sterling Reflects On Crushing Title Defeat

Aljamain Sterling
Aljamain Sterling

UFC 292 presented a rough night for Aljamain Sterling, as he lost his bantamweight championship to Sean O’Malley in the main event. Sterling reflected on the defeat during the post-fight press conference, explaining what he felt went wrong.

UFC 292: Aljamain Sterling On Difficult Championship Loss

Aljamain Sterling’s run as bantamweight champion came to an end at UFC 292 Saturday night. Sterling suffered a second round TKO defeat at the hands of Sean O’Malley from the TD Garden in Boston.

Sterling, who seeking his fourth successful title defense, discussed the loss during the post-fight press conference afterwards.

“He stayed disciplined,” Sterling said (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “I didn’t want the fight to be boring. I could have sat on the outside and kept playing the leg kick game but then I would have had all the criticisms of everybody else. I was like this is the difference.

“He stayed disciplined to his game plan and I kind of let trying to be a little bit more of an exciting style for the fans play a factor.”

Sterling noted a previous title fight between Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero for playing into that decision.

“We’ve seen bad fights before, where it’s like not much happens because no one wants to make that grave mistake,” he said. “I made the mistake, Sean capitalized. I paid for it.”

After winning the title in 2021 by disqualification over Petr Yan, Sterling defended and unified the belts with a split decision win vs. Yan last year.

He closed out 2022 with a finish of T.J. Dillashaw and opened this year with a split decision win vs. former two-division champion Henry Cejudo.

The loss dropped Sterling to 23-4 overall with two defeats by finish and two more by split decision.

As he entered the Octagon, Sterling noticed the crowd favoring O’Malley in the fight but said it played no factor in his decision-making.

“I could have made that a boring fight and I probably wouldn’t be here right now,” Sterling said. “It is what it is. The short answer, no, the boos don’t bother me. I’m glad the crowd actually has a reaction.”

UFC 292: Aljamain Sterling Post-Octagon Interview