UFC

UFC 251: Cejudo aims 'ugly potato' jibe at new champ, Petr Yan eyes Sterling fight

By Sports Desk July 12, 2020

Petr Yan hit back at sniping from Henry Cejudo and vowed he was ready to take on all-comers after landing the UFC bantamweight title.

The 27-year-old Russian scored a fifth-round TKO victory over Jose Aldo at UFC 251, landing the vacant belt at 'Fight Island' in Abu Dhabi.

He plans to be back in the octagon by October, saying that would be "a perfect time" to fight again, with the search now on for Yan's next opponent.

Cejudo, who adopted the Triple C nickname to befit his status as an Olympic wrestling champion and a UFC title winner at bantamweight and flyweight, announced in May he was retiring from mixed martial arts. It meant he gave up the belt for which Yan and Aldo fought.

However, social media goading of Yan on fight night suggested Cejudo might not be quite finished. The 33-year-old told Yan: "You absolutely suck", describing him as an "ugly potato" amid an attempt at provocation.

That nevertheless looks set to fall on deaf ears, with Yan vowing: "They can say whatever they want now – it is my time, I will fight anyone, and I will beat anyone."

He suggested it should be Aljamain Sterling, another American fighter, who gets the next shot at the belt.

"I think Aljamain Sterling deserves to fight for the title. He's on a good streak and has beaten a lot of good guys," Yan said.

Naturally, Sterling agreed, sending out a message to UFC boss Dana White on Twitter: "There is NOTHING to THINK about @danawhite! I am the next guy in line! I earned my shot and it's time for me to realize a dream! Cut the games!"

Yan said he was "insanely happy" to land the title and said the battle had been one between "two warriors".

He said his pre-fight plan was to wear down Aldo by encouraging him to "go for broke" and tire himself out, before finishing off the Brazilian in the late stages.

"It means a lot for me to have this belt now," Yan added.

And he vowed the success would not change him negatively as a man.

"I'm not afraid of this," Yan said. "I've been through a lot in my life, so I think this belt is just going to make me a stronger person."

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