Sterling recently competed for his first UFC championship against then-champion, Petr Yan at UFC 259. His corner consisted of a very familiar face in longtime Serra-Longo Fight Team coach, Ray Longo, but saw a new addition in Xtreme Couture coach Eric Nicksick, who Sterling worked with while out in Las Vegas.
A noticeably absence was Matt Serra, who has been a part of Sterling’s corner for several years. Serra later explained his absence on an episode of his UFC Unfiltered podcast and said that he was “hurt” to learn he would be left out of such a big moment for Sterling, which led to him retiring from cornering altogether.
The comments from Serra only led to Sterling receiving more backlash following UFC 259, where he won the bantamweight championship by disqualification after being illegally kneed in the head while grounded by Yan. Sterling had been targeted for his reaction to knee as well his post-fight actions such as celebrating his first title win, and the corner snub of Serra was just another reason for his detractors to be more vocal in their disdain.
On Tuesday, Serra responded to all of the negativity and effectively squashed any perceived beef between him and Sterling in a video posted to Instagram.
“So, people have been giving Aljamain Sterling a lot of hate, one because of the knee and two because they think me and him have some beef or something like that,” said Serra. “It’s true. I’m stepping away from cornering, for now. I ain’t cornering for a while. I’m spending time with the family, but myself and the ‘Funkmaster’ are always gonna be cool. You know that we love each other.
“Come on, man. I’m gonna help him defend this belt. I’m gonna help him defend this versus Petr Yan. We’re always cool. Petr Yan, he’s coming for you, buddy.”
Sterling reiterated this sentiment by posting his own picture of the two standing side-by-side with the title on his shoulder.
Although Serra confirmed he will not be returning to cornering any time soon, he appears to be committed to helping Sterling in his eventual rematch with Yan. The fight has yet to be made official, but the UFC brass has indicated that it will be scheduled in the near future.