Undefeated bantamweight Aljamain Sterling made his UFC debut in 2014, and has won three straight fights in the big show, two by finish. Still, he’s looking for his "big break into MMA."
Sterling posted on his Facebook page that he is considering walking away from the sport, despite being a top-ranked title contender in the UFC’s 135-pound division. The reason is that he’s simply not fighting often enough and making enough money to justify continuing his MMA career, at present.
"I’m a realist and in doing the math, I will not be able to have a financially stable future if things don’t change. I teach my students to focus on what you can control and the only thing in my control right now is furthering my education and hoping I get my big break into MMA," he wrote.
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"Ain’t some ishh?? Working my butt off every time I go to practice with dreams of winning #UFC gold since I was a college student. Training and studying instead of partying. Not doing drugs and not chasing females around because I had one true goal. A burning desire to finally be the best in the world at something. Came up short for High School wrestling, and college wrestling. Now this ‘is my shot’ is slowly starting to feel like this ‘was my shot.’
The 26-year-old has had multiple fights fall through and he’s only fought once in 2015 — in April. Fighting once a year is certainly no way to make a living, and Sterling realizes that simply being recognized as one of the very best fighters in the world doesn’t pay the bills.
Ain't some ishh?? Working my butt off every time I go to practice with dreams of winning #UFC gold since I was a college…
So, he’s reportedly considering going to graduate school and leaving the UFC behind. Far from bitter, Sterling continued to profess his love for combat sports, and simply explained that he was only honestly expressing the choices he has right now in his life.
"This path was my choice and I have no regrets," he continued.
Sterling’s teammate and UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman went through similar hardship and tough choices, just a few years ago. Weidman and his wife got through poverty, homelessness, injuries and more, and now "The All-American" is doing much better, financially.
You never know how things will turn out for you in the fight game, however, and Sterling seems acutely aware that things don’t always go your way. In fact, they usually don’t, and all you can hope for is some accomplishment and to leave with your mind and body still in place.
"This sport has so many ups and downs, it’s highs and lows, and overall great experiences and perks of being a UFC fighter," he maintained.
"With that said, it doesn’t last forever and if you aren’t at the top of the game in your division, count your blessings if you’re able to retire with any money, and with your body and brain intact."