Matt Serra is confident that not only will Aljamain Sterling become the new champion, but he’ll reign the division for a long time

Sterling (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) challenges bantamweight champion Petr Yan at UFC 259, which takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Yan (15-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) has been on a stellar run since joining the UFC roster in 2018, taking out legends Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo back-to-back to win the title. He only has one career blemish which happened in 2016, a loss he later avenged. Serra knows the kind of fight they’re in for and had nothing but high praise for the champion.

“I think he’s ferocious,” Serra told MMA Junkie. “I think the word is ferocious. He’s a natural fighter and he’s fearless. I think he’s truly looking forward to this fight with Aljo, and that’s pretty much it. I think he’s a great fighter, fantastic fighter.”

But Serra has seen Sterling grow before his eyes, where, after a few setbacks, “The Funkmaster” has been able to put together an incredible run of results to earn himself a shot at the gold.

Whether it’s swiftly submitting Cory Sandhagen or outstriking the powerful Pedro Munhoz, Sterling has proved that he can hang with various different styles and Serra thinks he has the tools to takeout everyone in the division.

“I think if you look at his whole career, the talent was always there and it’s just how he put it together,” Serra said. “(Ray) Longo would always say that if I point something out in the fight like ‘Dude, that was amazing!’ Longo would always say, ‘Look, that guy can do whatever he wants to do upstairs.’ He really could be the Jon Jones of that division, that’s how talented he is, he could do what he wants.

“He puts everything altogether better now and just his attitude. To come back after two losses and fight an undefeated fighter back in the day vs. ‘The Pikey’ (Brett Johns) – he never had an easy fight, Aljo. He fought all studs, and I believe he’s gonna be the new champion and he’s gonna hold that belt for a while. His jiu-jitsu, his grappling in general is – he came into my academy already just talented, pulling off stuff. Sometimes I wouldn’t even correct where he’s going because I like to see where he goes. He’s the ‘Funkmaster.’ I’m super happy for him, and I believe he’s gonna be the new champion.”

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