UFC: Aljamain Sterling Explains the Mechanics Behind “Funk Strudel” Submission

Aljamain Sterling breaks down his “Funk Strudel” submission, which saw him nominated for Submission of the Year at the 2019 World MMA Awards.

Las Vegas, NV — Aljamain Sterling was up for Submission of the Year at Wednesday’s World MMA Awards 2019. That nomination came care of a rather crafty submission at UFC 228 — in reality a Suleov Stretch, to that point only seen once in the UFC.

At UFC 228, Sterling and Zabit Magomedsharipov both earned wins with the technique, although only one would go home with the trophy.

Of late, Sterling has been healing up, biding his time with no fight booked and working on a new podcast. He’s also had a few social media spats on the go, which he told Cageside Press were both amusing and “flattering at the same time. It lets you know you’re doing all the right things, and you’re in a position of power.”

“At the end of the day, I think these guys, they’re gunning for me.” That’s a situation Sterling welcomes. “I welcome all challenges, I’ve never been one to shy away from a fight or any type of match-up. So bring ’em on. Bring on all challenges. I think I’m the best in the world, and at the end of the day, I’m going to go out and prove it.”

It’ll be a while before he can get back to proving it in the octagon, however. “I’m still healing up, my thumb is a little jacked up still. But all the number one contender guys who I could possibly fight, they’re banged up or they just had surgery themselves.”

In the meantime, Sterling is hanging out, enjoying some margaritas, and “waiting for that phone call.” And despite the nomination for Submission of the Year at the awards show, the award would go home with Zabit Magomedsharipov, for essentially the same finish.

The move is “the Suloev Stretch, which I have now dubbed “The Funk Strudel,” proclaimed Sterling. “It’s not a hamstring stretch where you take the knee out — we take the whole leg home,” he boasted.

Defending it is tricky. “It really depends if the guy knows what’s going on. If he doesn’t, they just stand up, and they’re just not being smart or think they can just bully out of it.” Not a good idea, as then “they’re in for a long night, and probably a long night in the hospital.”

Asked whether it was a moved practiced, or just seized upon in the fight, Sterling admitted that it was “a little bit of both. I’ve hit that submission probably a couple times in the training room. But once you hit it once, a lot of guys, they tend to not stand up in that position. They realize ‘hey if I stand up, I’m probably going to have my leg ripped off, or my groin really really stretched out.’ So they tend not to do that anymore in the training room. But I’ve hit a few times, and when the opportunity presented itself, I was like ‘bingo, let’s go for it and see what happens.'”

The Hamstring, Sterling explained, “is what’s really, really attacked in that position. I think it was Kenny Robertson who was the first guy to hit it in the UFC.” Which puts Sterling in a rather exclusive club alongside Robertson and Magomedsharipov.