Aljamain Sterling honest in assessment of new UFC champ Ilia Topuria: ‘It’s a tough matchup for anybody’

Aljamain Sterling sees Ilia Topuria posing problems for everyone in the division – including himself.

Topuria (15-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) knocked out Alexander Volkanovski to claim the featherweight title this past Saturday at UFC 298.

Topuria has primarily used his boxing in his impressive UFC run, but his first seven professional wins all came by submission, making him a well-rounded threat.

“I think (Topuria) could be champ for quite some time if he really wants to,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “That’s a hard style of fight. I mean, what do you do?”

Sterling (23-4 MMA, 15-4 UFC), a former bantamweight champion, seeks new life at featherweight when he meets Calvin Kattar at UFC 300 on April 13. With Topuria dismissing the current perennial contenders, Sterling could present fresh blood for the champion with a win.

But he knows it wouldn’t be easy.

“It’s a tough matchup for anybody – even for me, if I had the opportunity to fight him,” Sterling said. “Say I finish Calvin Kattar, make a big statement. They want something new, something fresh. Bhe Brian Ortega-Yair (Rodriguez featherweight) fight (at UFC Mexico) isn’t that great, maybe they throw me in there.

“I’m looking at it like, I’ve got my work cut out for me. That’s not an easy fight. That’s just being as honest as it is. I know I can punch, but it’s not how hard you can hit, sometimes you’ve got to be able to take that back.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 298.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie