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UFC’s Aljamain Sterling embodies ‘Funkmaster’ nickname


Uniondale's Aljamain Sterling ate a handful of M&Ms before getting on the scale at UFC Fight Night 80 weigh-ins on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. He weighed in at 135 pounds for Thursday's bantamweight fight against Johnny Eduardo. (Newsday/Jeffrey Basinger; Mario Gonzalez)

LAS VEGAS – So far this fight week, Uniondale’s Aljamain Sterling has crashed the UFC Fight Night open workouts, ate M&Ms before getting on the scales at weigh-ins and took off his thick 1980s-esque gold rope chain and placed it around trainer Ray Longo’s neck before stepping on the scales.

And he hasn’t even stepped into the octagon yet.

“He’s a unique dude, and that’s what makes him the ‘Funkmaster,’” Longo said.


There’s a spotlight waiting to shine on Sterling, the No. 5 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. Sterling (11-0, 3-0 UFC) fights Johnny Eduardo at UFC Fight Night 80 on Thursday. It is the last fight on his current UFC contract.

Sterling attributes much of his personality to growing up in a home full of brothers and sisters. Sterling is one of 20 siblings.

“We definitely had some strong personalities and I think that’s where I get a lot of my character from,” he said.

The bantamweight fighter has been all smiles during fight week as his personality starts to come through more and more, especially in social media. Follow his Twitter and Instagram accounts for a good laugh and glimpse into Sterling’s mind.

“When I want a good laugh, I search for Aljo on social media,” Longo said. “I think he’s funny. He’s got a future in something outside of fighting. It’s funny to get inside his head and see what he’s thinking, how he expresses himself.”

Even Longo got into the fun during weigh-ins. After Sterling put the chain (which has its own Twitter account established by a fan) around Longo’s neck, Longo turned to the crowd and cameras with his arms outstretched and a “Look at me” facial expression.

Sterling said he’s not trying to be outlandish.

“I just need to be myself a little more,” he said. “Just be funny and be myself. I can do that.

“I’m not faking anything. I’m not trying too hard. I’m doing exactly what you’d see me do if you actually were here training at the gym.”

New York Sports