Champion Aljamain Sterling (21-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) will seek his second title defense against TJ Dillashaw (17-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC), with the bout currently targeted for UFC 279 on September 10.
Three people with knowledge of the situation confirmed to MMA Junkie that contracts have been issued for the match. The people requested anonymity as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.
UFC 279 does not have an official location or location at this time, although sources recently told MMA Junkie that Boston and Atlanta are in play.
Sterling, 32, has won seven straight fights, including two victories over former champion Petr Yan. After Sterling won the belt via disqualification at UFC 258 in March 2021, he faced criticism and hatred from an onslaught of fans for the manner in which he won the title. After neck surgery and recovery, Sterling returned at UFC 273 and defeated Yan by split decision.
Other wins in his current streak include Cory Sandhagen, Pedro Munhoz, Jimmie Rivera, Cody Stamann and Brett Johns.
Dillashaw, 36, has said publicly since winning over Sandhagen in July 2021 that he was promised a title shot. The win came via split decision in his first fight since a two-year suspension from USADA for performance-enhancing drugs. During the Sandhagen fight, Dillashaw injured his knee. He underwent knee surgery which kept him out of training until recent months.
With this addition, the UFC 279 lineup includes:
- Champion Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
- Norma Dumont vs. Danielle Wolf
- Hannah Cifers vs. Melissa Martinez
- Victor Altamirano vs. Daniel da Silva