When the conversation moves to Aljamain Sterling, it often centers on his skill set being that of a future champion. It’s just a matter of when it all would come together for the UFC bantamweight fighter from Uniondale.
Sterling took another step in the right direction as he submitted Cody Stamann in the second round at UFC 228 in Dallas on Saturday night.
“The ‘Human Anaconda’ is back,” Sterling said during his in-cage interview. “I haven’t had a finish since 2015 in December. It’s about time I dip back into those bantamweight rankings and show these guys who’s the real future title contender in this division. I want the winner of (Jimmie) Rivera vs. (John) Dodson. And if they don't want to scrap, Dominick Cruz, I’m ready to stomp the fire at you.”
Sterling, the No. 8 ranked bantamweight in the UFC, threw an abundance of kicks in the first round as he tried to maximize his six-and-a-half-inch reach advantage over 10th-ranked Stamann (17-2).
Midway into the second round, Sterling (16-3) was able to get side control of Stamann and then moved into full mount. Sterling eventually got into back mount and had Stamann in a full nelson but could not get the submission. Stamann got free of that move but Sterling had the body lock around Stamann’s waist and remained in back control.
As Stamann tried to get to his feet and break free, Sterling was able to reach back and grab Stamann’s left ankle. Sterling pulled the leg forward and out, putting extreme pressure on the knee, and Stamann instantly tapped out to the kneebar at the 3:42 mark of the second round.
“I heard the knee pop because he was trying his best to fight it,” Sterling said.
It was the second straight win for Sterling, a Serra-Longo fighter, and fourth in his last five. It was the first time Sterling stopped his opponent since a second-round submission of Johnny Eduardo on Dec. 10, 2015. It’s his fourth finish in eight UFC victories.
“When I get on anyone’s back,” Sterling said, “I’m the ‘Human Anaconda,’ I’m the ‘Human Backpack,’ I’m the ‘Human Jansport,’ I will snatch that neck up in a heartbeat.”