Aljamain Sterling will try to keep the momentum going for the Serra-Longo Fight Team this Wednesday evening when he faces Hugo Viana at UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Miller.
Sterling (9-0) earned a victory over Cody Gibson in his Octagon debut earlier this year. Now, following a successful title defense by teammate Chris Weidman, and a victory for Eddie Gordon in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter, the 24-year-old sees this as a perfect time for the camp.
“The energy at the gym is at an all-time high,” said Sterling, during a recent interview with FightLine. “What can be better than that for us right now? An exciting title defense and the release of one of our juggernauts that finally got to show his true form during his TUF Finale win. It’s life-changing stuff and being around that only drives you more.”
Sterling, a native of New York, still can’t compete professionally in his home state. So, getting the chance to showcase his skills in nearby Atlantic City serves a dual purpose.
“I’m very excited. Fighting here in New Jersey is my home away from home,” he said. “For me, it’s just another day in the office. It’s sparring – with bad intentions. Being on TV, and getting paid for it. No big deal!”
After going the distance with Gibson in his debut with the UFC, Sterling has visualized many different outcomes to his bout with Viana. And while not all of them have started out well, he’s found a way to change that.
“I dream about every fight so much that it almost haunts me,” Sterling said. “I see the bad, but then I slow them down and figure out ways to change the outcome. I’m big on visualization, and on the law of attraction. I believe I work my (expletive) off and with a little luck, my dreams come to reality.
“Everything in training went as well as it possibly could. Like any sport, training for long periods of time leaves you with bumps and bruises here and there, but that comes with the territory.”
Sterling owns four submission wins to his credit, including three straight rear-naked choke finishes that led to his signing with the UFC. He has worked on breaking down tape of Viana, and sees one deciding factor determining the outcome.
“He seems to have really flexible shoulders, which could help wiggle out when I get back control,” Sterling said. “Besides that, nothing I don’t see in the gym every day. At the end of the day, it’s a fist-fight and in my opinion, I want this more than he does.
“I’ll be there for 15 minutes or less. It’s my time, my moment to shine and I won’t let him take this from me. If you think like an animal, you’ll do savage-like things.”
Front-Page Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie