UFC star Aljamain Sterling is finally getting his title shot this weekend — and he’s predicting a 2nd round victory over the champ, Petr Yan.
But, it’s bigger than just a belt for Sterling who tells TMZ Sports becoming the first Jamaican champion could be huge for the island nation.
31-year-old Sterling was born and raised in New York — but both of his parents are from Jamaica and he feels a strong sense of American and Jamaican pride.
But, the fact is … no UFC fighter of Jamaican descent has ever held a UFC belt and Sterling says he’s looking to make history when he steps into the octagon against bantamweight champ Petr Yan on March 6 at UFC 259.
“I think he’s the real deal,” Sterling says … “He’s a tough guy, he did what he had to do with all the guys that they put in front of him so I gotta pay him respect for that but at the end of the day, this is my time! This my time to put on a show.”
Sterling — who’s 19-3 and on a 5-fight win streak — says he’s confident his grappling game will simply be too much for Yan to handle … culminating in a 2nd round TKO.
And, if Sterling’s prediction comes true, Alja believes a Jamaican champion could inspire a whole new generation of MMA fighters.
“It would be a catalyst for the entire country to really get the sport picked up and get it rockin’ and rollin’.”
Sterling says he’s working on plans to spread the sport to the masses in Jamaica — with the goal of keeping the cost of entry down.
“There’s so many talented people down there, too many talented athletes. They just need the opportunity.”