Ray Longo has never been known to bite his tongue between tours. “I want you to punch a hole in his cute chest,” his advice to Chris Weidman before Weidman’s shock stunner for Anderson Silva, remains one of the all-time greats on the hot mic moments between coach and fighter in the UFC.
Longo was another censorship nightmare last Saturday at UFC 273. As he steps toward the octagon to meet the official, UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, he exclaims, “Aljo, look at him! Look at him! Look at the mother *****! That’s what I’m talking about about him.”
The message, Longo said on Monday MMA watchthat all those who said they would be dominated by the pound were wrong.
“What happened to the bogeyman?” Longo explained that he wasn’t the bogeyman anymore—Aljo was the bogeyman now.” That’s why I even caught it. This is the man? This is the guy everyone thinks is going to kill you? Take a look at it. It doesn’t look good to me.”
Longo had paid attention to all the hate Sterling presented after winning his disqualification in his first encounter with Yan at UFC 259, and the interim champion had certainly caught his eye when he threatened – as a joke, as he later claimed – with a hotel brawl to settle the bad blood that had piled up for 13 A month between the first fight and the second match.
So when Sterling not only survived, but won the opening frame, Longo thought he would remember his pupil.
“I love him,” he said, “and there was a lot of tension building up to this fight.” “I’m in New York, getting ready to leave, and this guy says he’s going to kill his team on site. I’m like, ‘What?’ Are you threatening me in my ******?
“It wasn’t a good look for him. Nothing was going to happen. It would have been the dumbest thing he could have tried. I think to me, maybe that added to feelings, because you’re kind of aggravated. It’s an insult, someone is threatening to kill you. It’s like, ‘” are you kidding?”
“I think I wanted to boost Aljo. You got this guy, because you don’t know what he’s been going through for 13 months. Maybe there is self-doubt too that no one knows about. I just wanted to erase that and improve it.”
Sterling went on to win rounds 2 and 3 on the three judges’ scorecards, although interestingly, none of them gave the champ a 10-8 score in the second frame after a long period of spiraling dominance, ground and pound. Yan rushed in late in the fight, winning rounds 3 and 4 on all scorecards, making Round 1 the deciding frame. Two of the three judges gave the fight to Sterling, 10-9, making him the winner by split decision.
As expected, Sterling’s critics were not satisfied with the mixed scorecards. Longo sees the theft complaints as sour grapes.
“People can say whatever they want, it was close. Round one, here’s the bottom line: This kid was killed, period. [They said], “He won’t get out of the first round.” And then when that doesn’t happen, they should come back for some… We made it to the first round, with like six punches? are you kidding me?
“The guy was supposed to be beaten and killed. Everyone fell silent, man, and I’ll tell you what, it’s only going to get worse for Yan as these fights go on, because I think the more comfortable Aljo is, and the healthier he’ll be, he’ll only get On better and better.
Sterling aims to take on former champion T.J. Delashaw, who was by his cage in last Saturday’s fight and received a hero summon after the fight with a pair of middle fingers. Longo has no preference over the following name. But he hopes that the people who attacked Sterling will relentlessly retreat.
“[Sterling is] Longo said. “I don’t think there’s a bad bone in that guy’s body,” he said at the press conference, on Long Island, everybody’s cracking balls. It’s kind of the way we grow up, and it’s probably different for the rest of the world. But look, man, I can’t say things Good enough about him. He runs great lessons here, and he gives them to the community. He has never forgotten his roots, where he came from, and I just want people to focus on the good things this guy is doing.”