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Aljamain Sterling: I had to change my style because judges lack ‘knowledge of the sport’

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Bantamweight Aljamain Sterling says he had to change his fighting style to adapt to what he believes is the lack of understanding on the part of the judges.

After two consecutive split decision losses, bantamweight prospect Aljamain Sterling was finally able to break the skid. The number eight ranked 135-pounder scored a unanimous decision win over Augusto Mendes at the prelims of UFC on FOX 24 on Saturday night in Kansas City.

Sterling says his two previous defeats against Bryan Caraway and Raphael Assuncao respectively may have been a byproduct of the judges’ lack of understanding of the game, which pushed him to make changes on his approach on fighting.

“I realize judges don’t understand what the hell kicks are doing,” Sterling said in a post-fight media scrum. “So I threw a lot less kicks than what I’m really accustomed to, and I had to change my fight style to adapt to what the judges understand because of their lack of experience and lack of knowledge of the sport, and what leg kicks and what body kicks do.

“People can say that’s disrespectful. I don’t give a sh-t,” he continued. “If you don’t know what the hell the martial arts are, why are you a judge? Now I’ve got to adapt my style because you’re not smart enough to comprehend what’s actually taking place in the octagon.”

“I threw a lot more punches, and I think, if I had just done that a little more against (Raphael) Assuncao, it would’ve been easier for the judges to understand who was actually winning the fight.”

In the end, however, the Serra-Longo representative did see a silver lining from the situation.

“It did kind of do a service for me, if that makes sense,” Sterling said. “It was kind of annoying, but at the same time, it did me a service. It made me open up and have a much better performance overall, from punching to kicking to grappling – from just pushing the pace and just having a heart.”