UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has been racking up the accolades over recent years, and he picked up another at CFFC 120 on Friday night in Atlantic City as he was named as the first inductee into the Cage Fury Fighting Championships Hall of Fame.
In his three-year stint with the promotion, Sterling went 5-0 under the CFFC banner, and captured the promotion’s bantamweight title in his second bout with victory over Sean Santella in October 2011.
He then went on to defend that title three times in a row, finishing each fight with a rear-naked choke to alert the UFC, who signed him to compete on his Octagon debut at UFC 170 in February 2014.
Since then, “Funkmaster” has gone on to capture the undisputed UFC bantamweight title, and has set a new record for the most consecutive bantamweight title defenses with victories over former UFC champions Petr Yan, TJ Dillashaw, and Henry Cejudo.
Sterling is preparing for an upcoming title defense against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 in August in a matchup he has hinted could be his last at 135 pounds. But he remains an integral part of his team and often corners his teammates at CFFC events.
And, in Atlantic City, he was honored as the first inductee to the CFFC Hall of Fame, and brought into the cage to receive his commemorative Hall of Fame championship belt, as well as the appreciation of the crowd in attendance.
“It’s everything, man,” he told CM Punk inside the CFFC cage.
“I gave my blood, sweat, and tears to the sport. And I started right here at Cage Fury, so this is everything.
“This is what helped get me to where I am today, and it just reminds me that, no matter where you are, who you are, where you come from, hard work trumps everything, man and that’s never gonna be denied.
“So I just want to say thank you again to Cage Fury for you guys. This is like a family, man. It really is.”