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Aljamain Sterling Would Have Considered Retirement with Loss to Calvin Kattar



Aljamain Sterling was admittedly at somewhat of a crossroads in his career going into his UFC 300 clash against Calvin Kattar on Saturday.

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Sterling made his featherweight debut against the New England Cartel standout, earning a dominant unanimous decision victory with a stifling grappling display. While “Funk Master” nullified all offense from Kattar, many believe he would have done better to aggressively seek a finish. The former bantamweight champion insists he is in the game to be on top of the ladder, which made him consider retirement leading up to the fight in case of a loss.

“I think if I got my ass completely kicked by Calvin Kattar, I was probably done. And no one knew about that, I didn’t share those sentiments with anybody. Even my fiancé. It’s just one of those things,” Sterling said on “The MMA Hour”.

“I mean, I mentioned it to her like, ‘Well if I can’t beat him, I don’t know.’ But I didn’t really go into detail what that actually meant… My internal thoughts were, ‘This guy is good, but if I’m claiming to be who I think I am and who I want to be, man, I feel like I should be able to beat a guy like this. And if I can’t, then how am I ever gonna beat a guy who’s sitting on top of the throne right now?’”

With a walkaround weight of 165-168 pounds, the cut to bantamweight was always grueling for Sterling. While the cut to featherweight was better, Sterling claims it was harder than he expected. When he almost wanted to give up, Sterling focused on his end goal of doubling his paycheck and moving closer to title glory. The New Yorker further admits that financial stability sometimes makes him question his motivation to fight.

“It was definitely still challenging, still hard. I was actually surprised, I thought it was going to get a little bit easier. But there was parts in there where I was just like, ‘I’m just over cutting weight. There’s just so many other things I’d rather be doing right now,’ said Sterling.

“Then I’m like, ’OK, think about the end goal. The end goal – we win this fight, we get paid well, we get paid regardless but we win, we get paid double time. And we win this fight, we get ourselves an opportunity to possibly put our name back in the conversation for a title again.’ So it’s all about perspective, what is your why? And I keep it real, man. Some of these guys, they try to make it like a show pretending like, ‘Oh, I'm so bulletproof this’ and like, we all have these thoughts that go through our heads and it's just like, 'What the heck am I still doing here? I got a couple million in the bank. Why am I still doing this?' You know what I mean? So, these thoughts happen. They’re normal. But I love competing, and I think that’s what drives me to want to keep going and trying to achieve bigger and greater things.”
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