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‘Doc says back in 2023’ - Aljamain Sterling jokes about return after cut from (another) knee

The UFC bantamweight champion can find some humor in being hit with a knee after a recent training session went wrong. 

Aljamain Sterling during his pre-fight press conference for UFC 259.
Aljamain Sterling during his pre-fight press conference for UFC 259.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Aljamain Sterling found himself on the receiving end of another brutal knee, but the UFC bantamweight champion can laugh about this one.

Sterling took to Twitter on Monday night to share some photos of a gruesome cut on his bottom lip that was apparently caused by a knee during a recent training session. The ‘Funk Master’ wondered if he should get stitches for the cut, which he ultimately did on Tuesday afternoon.

Sterling also joked that the stitches he received could delay his return to the Octagon until 2023.

“Stitches or nah?,” tweeted Sterling. “Very first roll of the night. Courtesy of…you guessed it! Another knee to the face. I really don’t knee’d this right now!”

Sterling became the first fighter in UFC history to win a championship via disqualification after he was hit with an illegal knee to the head from Petr Yan during their meeting at UFC 259 this past May. Because of the controversy stemming from that fight-ending sequence, Sterling and Yan were then expected to rematch a few months later at UFC 267 in October. However, the Serra-Longo Fight Team star would be unable to make the rematch as he was still dealing with some nerve issues following a recent neck surgery.

Rather than postpone the fight with Sterling again, Yan remained on the pay-per-view event and defeated a short-notice replacement in Cory Sandhagen by unanimous decision for the newly created interim championship.

Sterling has previously said that he wanted to unify the titles by either February or March of next year, but that has yet to be confirmed.