Aljamain Sterling : MMA Prospects Report 2013

Bantamweight Division

#3 Prospect: Aljamain Sterling



Aljamain Sterling has all the makings of a future star in the UFC Bantamweight Division. Sterling wrestled at the Division III level in college before finding his way to MMA in 2009. He went 6-1 as an amateur before going pro in 2011. Sterling won his first 2 pro fights and quickly moved on to fight for the Ring of Combat Bantamweight Championship. In a close battle, Sterling earned a decision victory over Claudio Ledesma. Sterling never hung around to defend the ROC title though as 1 month later he signed with Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC).

Sterling’s CFFC debut could not have gone better as he defeated Evan Chmielski via 1st round TKO to earn a title shot against CFFC Bantamweight Champion Sean Santella. Sterling was able to overpower Santella throughout the fight and cruised to a unanimous decision victory, capturing the CFFC Bantamweight Championship. Sterling has since defended the title twice against Casey Johnson and Sidemar Honorio.

In 2013, Sterling was forced to undergo surgery to correct a torn labrum. He should return in the 2nd half of 2013.

Camp/ Country:

Sterling is based in New York where he trains at Team Bombsquad. His camp is home to UFC veteran Mike Massenzio and Bellator Featherweight Shahublat Shamhaelaev. Team Bombsquad is one of the most respected camps out on the East Coast. They were most famous for being UFC champion Jon Jones’ former team.

Career Forecast

Sterling is tall and lanky. He wrestled in Junior College. He utilizes a long jab, and is a bit unorthodox with his striking. He has great takedowns with a solid top game. He trains at Team Bombsquad. He grew up in New York…Does this description remind you of anyone? If you said Jon Jones, you were correct. Let me clarify though, Sterling is no Jon Jones. He is still young and developing his overall skill level, while Jones seems to be that once in a lifetime type fighter. Yet, Sterling has a lot of parallels to Jones and I would not surprised to see him utilize his physical tools to one day make a run in the UFC Bantamweight Division.

Sterling still has holes in his game. He’s nearly been caught by submissions and also leaves himself open for counters, but these are just small flaws in an otherwise outstanding skill set for a top prospect. Sterling could be a Top 15 UFC Bantamweight if he were to sign with the UFC tomorrow. He’s still flying under the radar because he hasn’t really fought outside of the East Coast regional shows thus far. Depending on when he returns from his recent shoulder surgery, it may only take 2-3 more wins for the UFC or Bellator to come calling.


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Video 1: Sterling Highlights

Video 2: Sterling vs. Casey Johnson (2012)

Other Links

Sherdog Profile:

The 2013 MMA Prospects Report

My 2013 Prospects Report started on June 1, 2013. All statistics, news, and info are reflected up to that date.
Fighters marked with a "+" after their name have since signed with a major promotion.
1. Darrell Montague +
2. Sergio Pettis +
3. Josh Sampo +
4. Sean Santella
5. Danny Martinez +
6. Mamoru Yamaguchi
7. Dileno Lopes
8. Ali Bagautinov +
9. Rafael de Freitas +
10. Jose Maria +

* Honorable Mentions
1. Henry Cejudo
2. Bibiano Fernandes +
3. Aljamain Sterling +
4. Marlon Moraes +
5. Sheymon Moraes
6. Josh Hill +
7. Chris Holdsworth +
8. Brandon Bender +
9. Kyoji Horiguchi +
10. Sirwan Kakai +

* Honorable Mentions
1. Lance Palmer +
2. Doo Ho Choi +
3. Chas Skelly+
4. Rick Glenn +
5. Jim Alers+
6. Ande Fili +
7. Gleristone Santos
8. Tom Niinimaki +
9. Goiti Yamauchi +
10.Chris Gruetzemacher +

* Honorable Mentions
1. Bubba Jenkins +
2. Justin Gaethje +
3. Gilbert Burns
4. Tony Martin +
5. Katsunori Kikuno +
6. Joe Ellenberger +
7. Carlos Ferreira+
8. Ivan Jorge +
9. Yui Chul Nam +
10. Nick Newell +

* Honorable Mentions
WelterweightMiddleweightLight HeavyweightHeavyweight
1. Alex Garcia +
2. Dhiego Lima +
3. Yan Cabral +
4. Cathal Pendred +
5. Rashid Magomedov +
6. Assan Njie
7. Myung Ho Bae
8. Mike Rhodes +
9. Hernani Perpetuo +
10. Chidi Njokuani

* Honorable Mentions
1. Mamed Khalidov
2. Elvis Mutapcic +
3. Michal Materla
4. Ramazan Emeev
5. Joseph Henle
6. Ricardo Abreu+
7. Bubba Bush
8. Jeremy Kimball +
9. Tim Williams +
10. Sean Strickland+

* Honorable Mentions
1. Robert Drysdale +
2. Tyrone Spong +
3. Patrick Cummins+
4. Jan Blachowicz+
5. Steve Bosse+
6. Kyle Cerminara
7. Viktor Nemkov
8. Max Nunes
9. Francimar Barroso +
10. Jake Butler

* Honorable Mentions
1. Steve Mocco +
2. Jared Rosholt +
3. Tony Johnson +
4. Guram Gugenishvili
5. Magomed Malikov
6. Satoshi Ishii
7. Derrick Lewis +
8. Chris Birchler
9. Walt Harris +
10. Ante Delija

* Honorable Mentions
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