Those photos circulating on social media after UFC 259 with Aljamain Sterling posing with the bantamweight belt after his DQ win over Petr Yan were not his idea, according to UFC featherweight Billy Quarantillo.
Quarantillo was at Sterling’s post-fight party in Las Vegas and claims the newly-crowned UFC bantamweight champ was reluctant to celebrate but had no choice in the matter.
According to Quarantillo, Sterling, who won the belt after being hit with an illegal knee in the fourth round, wanted to rewatch the fight in his hotel room rather than pose with the title.
“All those memes and everything with him and the champagne and stuff, they made him do that. Like, (Sterling) didn’t want to do that. They’re like, ‘Yo, here’s the belt, take it, put it on, you fought for this forever.’ This wasn’t just this last fight, this was every UFC fight he’s had, every UFC win, going to every venue. It’s a lifetime that he’s celebrating. And of course, I know how UFC Twitter is with the memes and all that. But that was a thing they made him do,” Quarantillo said on a recent episode of the Elite Sports Network MMA podcast (h/t BJPenn.com).
“He wasn’t drinking, he had like one thing of champagne. He basically said let’s watch the fight again. Watched the fight and broke it down. As a fighter, that showed me where he’s at because he just wanted to break the fight down right away and get to work. I think in the rematch he’s going to be a totally different fighter”.
Sterling has since teased of a title fight with former two-division champ Henry Cejudo, which has led Yan to speculate that he’s avoiding a rematch.
“Everything tells me he doesn’t want to fight me again. He understands he lost this fight, he understand it’s going to happen again. I feel like he doesn’t want to fight me again.”