Aljamain Sterling Challenges Diego Lopes at UFC 306, Snubs Movsar Evloev

Aljamain Sterling, after a successful featherweight debut and initial plans to fight Movsar Evloev fell through, is now targeting a bout with rising star Diego Lopes at The Sphere on September 14.

Aljamain Sterling is changing courses.

Earlier this year, Sterling made his featherweight debut. He secured a dominant unanimous decision win over Calvin Kattar at UFC 300. This victory earned him a spot in the featherweight top 10. Afterward, “The Funk Master” aimed for a title shot by challenging undefeated contender Movsar Evloev.

However, Sterling and Evloev seem to be at odds over the possible matchup. So now, Sterling is shifting his focus to one of the hottest names in the 145-pound division: Diego Lopes.

“Stay tuned,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “Hopefully we’ll have some fight news for you guys.” He added, “I’m thinking about Aljamain Sterling vs. Diego Lopes at The Sphere. That has a nice ring to it.”

“Movsar, I don’t know what the hell he’s doing,” Sterling continued. “I gave him a date; he hasn’t accepted yet.” He accused Evloev of making excuses. “Either you want to fight on my terms or I’ll go fight somebody else.”

“So, Diego Lopes,” he proposed, “if you oblige, let’s make it happen at The Sphere, September 14. Let’s get it!”

MMA Fighting’s 2023 Rookie of the Year, Lopes took UFC by storm with his short-notice octagon debut against Evloev. He then scored three first-round finishes in his next three fights.

One of those wins was an impressive victory over Sodiq Yusuff at UFC 300.

Most recently, Lopes grabbed headlines again when he accepted a fight with Brian Ortega on short notice for UFC 303. When Ortega pulled out on fight day, Lopes fought Dan Ige instead—on just a few hours’ notice.

Lopes not only won that fight but also won favor with UFC CEO Dana White. White suggested he “will do anything” Lopes and Ige want after fighting under those circumstances.

Last week, Lopes called for a fight with former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski if the Brian Ortega matchup couldn’t be re-booked for UFC 306 at The Sphere in Las Vegas.

But with Volkanovski insisting his next 145-pound fight will be for the title? Perhaps Lopes will settle for a different former champion instead.


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