Just In Why Aljamain Sterling declined Jon Jones’ early invitation to train at Jackson Wink MMA MMA Life

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Aljamain Sterling met Jon Jones during his amateur career and almost ended up training at Jackson Wink MMA.

In fact, Sterling and Jones went to the same school in New York for a short while, and Jones invited him to come train with him in Albuquerque, N.M.

“Jon Jones actually invited me to come down when I was debating whether or not to go back home to Long Island after school was over and trying to figure out where I want to move,” Sterling told MMA Junkie Radio on Tuesday. “I didn’t even know that gym existed – Weidman, Serra-Longo. I didn’t even know that existed because I was all the way upstate and sure enough, I was glad that I made the right choice.”

Sterling (18-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) has found a home in Long Island, training under the guidance of coaches Matt Serra and Ray Longo, alongside former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Al Iaquinta and Merab Dvalishvili.

The top bantamweight contender seriously considered Jones’ offer but ultimately decided not to go. He didn’t believe he’d get the individual focus he was looking for at that early point in his career while training at such a big gym.

“It’s crazy. I almost went,” Sterling said. “I told him, ‘Jon, I just don’t feel like I’m going to get the right training. I don’t feel like I’m going to get the attention you get. You’re Jon Jones, I’m the amateur guy that’s only a wrestler, and I get that.’ You got to put in your time, put in your work and earn your spot.”

Jackson Wink staple Diego Sanchez recently announced his decision to leave the gym. After spending much of his career there, he felt like he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved. Sterling sees where Sanchez is coming from.

“It’s hard to do that with a lot of high-level guys in one room,” Sterling said. “Like I said, one coach only has so much time and hours a day to work with everybody so I feel for (Sanchez) in that situation.”

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