Yan: Sterling ran away from rematch 'like a sneaky coward'
Petr Yan doesn't buy the reasoning for Aljamain Sterling's reported withdrawal from UFC 267.
After Sterling reportedly pulled out of their Oct. 30 rematch Saturday due to lingering neck issues, Yan said he believes the bantamweight champion is ducking him.
"You all know what's just happened to my fight," Yan said in a video posted and translated by RT Sport. "You all know that Aljo just ran away like a sneaky coward."
Cory Sandhagen is reportedly considered the front-runner to square off with Yan at the event in what would likely be an interim title bout, though a replacement has not been finalized.
"I am not going to sit and wait for (Sterling). I am going to fight on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi," Yan said, adding that he's willing to face anyone in the top 10.
Sterling captured the 135-pound title from Yan in March, but the result was controversial. Yan landed an illegal knee in the fourth round and was disqualified after Sterling couldn't continue. "Funk Master" became the new champion despite being down on the scorecards.
The rivals ultimately agreed a rematch was in order, but Sterling was sidelined for several months in April after undergoing neck surgery.
Yan didn't think Sterling should have gotten the belt in the first place, and he said he plans to show next month that he is the best bantamweight in the world and deserves to wear UFC gold.
"I (will) show you who here is really (the) champ," Yan said.
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