Aljamain Sterling wants to see more of an actual fight the next time he steps onto the grappling mats.
At Fury Pro Grappling 8 (a Cage Fury FC event) in Philadelphia on Saturday, the former UFC bantamweight champion headlined against Kevin Dantzler and was visibly frustrated during the 10-minute contest. Dantzler insisted on fighting off of his back and inviting Sterling to work inside his guard, which Sterling reluctantly did.
That strategy led to few dynamic exchanges, though Sterling provided a thrill seven minutes into the match as he countered a Dantzler armbar by picking him up and spinning him around before dropping him to the mat. Watch below.
The move was evocative of Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett’s infamous spinning throw of Anthony McDavitt that was also used to counter a submission attempt. And like Bennett, Sterling went on to lose a decision.
Though Dantzler mustered up little offense outside of his armbar attempt, Sterling also struggled to put points up on the board. He drew cheers when he grabbed Dantzler’s leg and dragged him around the mat, but his showmanship wasn’t enough to put him on the winning side of a majority call.
Afterwards, Sterling called Dantzler’s performance “a disgrace.”
“I don’t even know how they score that,” Sterling said. “Another man can’t drag his ass cheeks on the mat and think that’s a win, doing absolutely nothing. Yeah, sports jiu-jitsu guys, but I guarantee you if this was a street fight, my man would never do that s***. So why are we turning this sport into some kind of weird spectacle where you can win a match off of your back doing absolutely nothing. If I did nothing, what the f*** did he do?
“I’m just saying, I want to have a fun match. I told you guys beforehand, I’m trying to get in his head a little bit, maybe he’ll engage. Pull guard from standing up. Don’t just start the match on your butt, that should be deducted a point right out of the gate. Am I wrong? Never let another man drag you by your ankles in front of your loved ones and friends, because that is a disgrace.”
See more highlights from Sterling’s main event bout below.
Sterling most recently fought in MMA at UFC 292 this past August, when he lost the UFC bantamweight title to Sean O’Malley. “Funk Master” returns to action on April 13 at UFC 300, where he moves up to featherweight to fight Calvin Kattar.