Aljamain Sterling has his next assignment as the bantamweight champion is expected to face T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 279, which is expected to take place on Sept. 10 at a location still to be determined.
Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the fight was in the works when speaking to MMA Fighting on Wednesday. News of the fight was first reported by MMA Junkie.
Sterling will look for the second consecutive defense of his bantamweight title after earning a win over Petr Yan in April, which settled a longstanding rivalry between them after their first fight ended with a disqualification. On that night, Yan blasted Sterling with an illegal knee that cost him the 135-pound title but the New York native solidified his status as champion with a victory in the rematch.
Overall, Sterling has won his last seven fights in a row.
As for Dillashaw, the ex-bantamweight champion will attempt to reclaim a title he was forced to relinquish after testing positive for a banned substance back in 2019. Dillashaw gave up the belt just before he was issued a two-year suspension after testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin — better known as EPO — following a loss to former flyweight king Henry Cejudo in his bid to become a two-division champion.
In his return to action in July 2021, Dillashaw picked up a hard fought split decision over Cory Sandhagen but he suffered a knee injury that ultimately kept him sidelined for the better part of the past year. Now that he’s healthy again, Dillashaw will seek to become bantamweight champion for the third time after two previous title reigns.
While UFC 279 is expected to take place on Sept. 10, the UFC has not solidified a location for the event, although the card is not expected to happen in Las Vegas.