Sterling: Training struggles led to scratched UFC 267 bout
UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling confirmed Monday that he's out of his Oct. 30 title defense against Petr Yan, admitting struggles in training led to the cancellation.
Sterling underwent neck surgery in April and doctors did not clear him to proceed with the rematch against Yan, which was scheduled to co-headline UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
"Training has been going well, but I've been struggling to get my body to push (past two rounds) in sparring sessions," Sterling wrote in an Instagram post.
Sterling said he felt fatigued and suffered cramping during recent sessions because, according to his surgeon, his nerves are still recovering from the surgery.
The 32-year-old said he if fought Yan in October, he would have shown up "in another shell" of himself and risked wasting the surgery or suffering a severe injury.
"I originally wanted to fight in December but the plans were pushed up earlier," Sterling wrote. "Unfortunately, my body isn't agreeing with me and I asked for an extension and asked for Petr Yan to wait - so that I will be the first man in the UFC to beat his ass."
Sterling defeated Yan by disqualification at UFC 260 in March to claim the 135-pound title.
The promotion is reportedly hoping to book Yan in an interim title bout at UFC 267, but an opponent hasn't been finalized.