At UFC 280, Sterling added a second successful defense of the 135-pound title to his impressive résumé. He did so by recording a TKO victory over former two-time champ TJ Dillashaw, who competed in the co-main event despite carrying a known shoulder injury, which led to a dislocation early into round one.
Nevertheless, “Funk Master” did what he needed to do, and with the triumph, he secured his name in the history books by forming the longest win streak in UFC bantamweight history.
Ahead of the contest, both champion and challenger had sent their fair share of jibes the way of their opponent. And among Dillashaw’s insults, which included branding his opponent’s striking as “embarrassing,” remarks surrounding Sterling’s online activity emerged.
“He can run his mouth all he wants. I mean, to be honest, I think it shows some insecurities,” Dillashaw said. “And it’s really just kind of like, he’s too into social media, man. It’s kind of a joke.”
Unsurprisingly, Sterling disagrees with his fallen opponent’s assessment.
Sterling: “It’s Our Life, It’s Our Branding”
Following his victory over Dillashaw in the UFC 280 co-main event, which came eight months after he defended the gold for the first time against Petr Yan, Sterling appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
During the conversation, Sterling addressed those who suggest that he places too much focus on platforms such as Twitter. In response, “Funk Master” insisted that it’s crucial for his brand that he keeps track of comments and remains active.
In Sterling’s mind, he doesn’t receive the same privileges as others when it comes to the UFC’s marketing and promotion.
“I read the comments. I am very heavily involved in social media,” Sterling said. “It’s our life, it’s our branding. We don’t get super-crazy marketing and pushes from the UFC, outside of certain people. I don’t got to name names, i think people will know who they are.
“So, you gotta do your own promoting, your own branding. I don’t got a PR agent, I’m not paying for that. So, you gotta do what you gotta do. So I read the comments, I try to see what people are saying, try to get a feel,” Sterling added. “There’s so many different viewpoints on me… There’s no winning and that’s why I don’t give a sh*t.”
Sterling went on to provide an ahead-of-time answer for the “dumb-dumbs” he expects to hit back at his care-free attitude.
“This is what’s gonna happen, I’m gonna say this and people will go, ‘Oh, he says he doesn’t give a sh*t but he’s reading the comments.’ Dumb-dumb, I’m reading the comments for my purpose of building the next fight, seeing what people are saying, and seeing how to respond in the sense of how to go forward,” Sterling stated. “It’s a business, at the end of the day. If you can’t wrap that around your head then you’re too dense and too stupid.
“I read the comments and it’s good for me on the downtime, because I get to chill back, relax, and just laugh while I’m having a beer, taking my victory lap. The joke’s on you,” Sterling continued. “You’re sitting here talking sh*t about a guy who’s way more successful than you will ever be in your life, you probably live in your mom’s basement, eating Cheetos, and trying to discredit my wins.”
Sterling’s presence on social media has remained firm, even in spite of the hate he received following his crowning via disqualification last March and subsequent postponed defense later in 2021.
With that in mind, good comments or bad remarks, the bantamweight king embraces them all.
What do you make of Aljamain Sterling’s social media presence?
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