Ray Longo ponders UFC’s ‘favoritism’ toward Islam Makhachev, other champs in Aljamain Sterling’s quick turnaround

Ray Longo takes exception with the way he thinks the UFC has treated Aljamain Sterling.

Bantamweight champion Sterling (23-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) will be making a three-month turnaround to face Sean O’Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in the UFC 292 main event Aug. 19 at TD Garden in Boston.

Sterling is fresh off a five-round headlining win against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288. He initially wanted more time to recover before booking his next fight, and Longo doesn’t think it’s fair for the UFC to offer Sterling a fight so quickly.

“To me, in business and even down here, you know what people like: consistency,” Longo said in a recent episode of the Anik & Florian Podcast. “If I come in here, everybody pays $200 a month, and then they’re walking around the gym, and someone says, ‘No, he only charges me $75,’ that’s not good, you know what I mean? It’s got to be consistent. That’s why I said we’re giving examples where it seems like it’s favoritism almost.”

Longo pointed to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, who retained his belt against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in February. His next title defense is expected to take place at UFC 294 on Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi.

“I think it’s the inconsistency of, well, ‘Makhachev hasn’t fought in a year. Why are you rushing me to fight in two months?’ That’s where I have a problem,” Longo said. “I like fairness, and I like the transparency of knowing everybody’s doing the same thing.

“If Dana (White) wanted to turn everybody around every two months, then that’s it. That’s what you signed up for. This is their rules. It’s their company. He built it up. He gets to call the shots. But to do one thing one time and not another time, I think that’s where it gets a little sticky for me.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 292.