Top 10 UFC bantamweight Aljamain Sterling is one of the top free agents in MMA, and he's made his decision as to which promotion he'll compete under for his future fights. The 26-year-old Long Island native will make his announcement on Monday's (February 15th) edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. According to his message on Instagram, he's received offers from the UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting, and ONE Championship.
How am I feeling? I feel like I'm ready to make a #contract decision! Thank you to my true fans that have supported, followed, and been rocking with me since the beginning of my #mma and #ufc career. To all the new faces, just know the #Funk Express started a while ago, but we're picking up steam now--ALL-ABOARD!! I'm blessed to be able to make a dollar doing something I love--the ultimate happiness. But in doing so, I've realized, "Do what you love so well, that people will pay you for it." - Some guy. My intent wasn't to start a revolution. I just want more out of my life and expect more for myself. I'm a proud, strong, Jamaican black man, with ambitious goals and dreams! Don't like me? Cool, "We have plenty of friends already. We can use a few enemies!" Real Bad Mon Ting, zeen! Decision will be announced THIS #monday on #TheMMAHour show #LIVE with @arielhelwani. #bellator #ufc #wsof #OneFC All deals are officially in! : @ryanloco
Sterling is a perfect 12-0 in his MMA career, including back-to-back submission wins over fellow ranked UFC bantamweights Takeya Mizugaki and Johnny Eduardo. Despite his Octagon success, which has him ranked as the #5 contender, he has never won a post-fight performance bonus or been placed on a UFC main card. He's been frequently critical of the state of fighter pay in MMA, and his lack of fights had him contemplating retirement due to not earning enough money. A major eye-opener for him was Sage Northcutt's $40,000/$40,000 salary for just his 2nd UFC fight, while his last reported salary was just $14,000/$14,000. Before year's end, Sterling said he wanted "a bank account that represents" him as a pro athlete.
With that in mind, we're just a few days away from knowing whether or not Sterling will stay in the UFC or become the latest contender-level free agent to leave for a different promotion. It is worth noting that Sterling's manager, Malki Kawa, also manages newest Bellator signing Benson Henderson, as well as current heavyweight free agent Alistair Overeem.