UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling addressed critics who believe he faked an injury after Petr Yan kneed him in the side of his head at the end of their title match at UFC 259 on Saturday, calling them "clowns" and "jokers."
"[Yan] threw a fight-ending knee and it hit me in the side of the head, a shot I didn't see, and if you think I'm faking that, let me do that to you," Sterling said, per TMZ Sports. "Please let me do that to you."
Sterling discussed how he felt after the hit in the TMZ Sports interview.
"I was a little cloudy, I'm definitely better today. I couldn't even drink the night of cause I was worried about my head. I felt nauseous. I ended up throwing up later that night."
Numerous UFC fighters have called out Sterling for what they believe is an embellishment of the injury, including Yan, Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw. Sterling addressed all three fighters' remarks on Twitter:
Aljamain Sterling @funkmasterMMA
.@PetrYanUFC please allow me to cleanly knee you in the temple, while you aren’t looking! See how much of a “clown”I would be then. I can admit RD 4 you were starting to land more shots, but the fight was statistically close, despite me fatiguing early. The clown here is you. https://t.co/gL2kWAupii
Sterling won by disqualification over Yan following the illegal knee in Round 4.
He said post-fight Saturday that he wants to have a rematch with the 28-year-old Yan, who entered Saturday on a 10-match winning streak before losing to Sterling.