Expected to re-run a bantamweight championship matchup with rival, Aljamain Sterling this summer, Petr Yan has questioned whether the UFC would promote the matchup, with the now-defunct Pride Fighting Championship ruleset employed.
Opening the first of a three title fight card at UFC 259 in February, Yan attempted to make the first successful defence of his bantamweight championship against the number-one ranked, Sterling at the UFC Apex facility event.
Starting to take over in the third and fourth rounds of the title clash following a slow start against Sterling, Yan landed an illegal knee to a downed opponent, with referee, Mark Smith warning Yan to not throw the knee before he initiated the movement. With Sterling reeling on the Octagon canvas after the illegal strike landed, Smith spoke with the Octagon-side physician — waving off the contest.
As a result, the Uniondale native was crowned the undisputed bantamweight titleholder via disqualification — becoming the first champion in the history of the UFC to win gold off the back of a disqualification result.
Afterwards, Yan initially wished Sterling a speedy recovery, before then questioning if the challenger had played up the extent of the impact the strike had on him, with the two poised to run back their title outing this year.
Engaging in a back-and-forth on Twitter this afternoon, Yan replied to a picture posted by UFC president Dana White, alongside former boxing world champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pride Fighting Championship founder, Nobuyuki Sakakibara — questioning if the UFC would be willing to host the rematch under the now-defunct Japanese promotion’s ruleset, which allows the use of knees to a grounded opponent.
Prior to the February clash with Sterling, Yan claimed the vacant title at UFC 251 back in July on ‘Fight Island’ scoring an eventual fifth-round ground strikes knockout win over former featherweight titleholder, Jose Aldo.
Earning his premier title challenge under the UFC’s scrutiny, Sterling managed to score himself title contender status at UFC 250 in June of last year — stopping the now surging, Cory Sandhagen with a stunning first-round rear-naked choke.