On Thursday, the UFC's Aljamain Sterling was among the fighters who were there in person to witness NY Governor Andrew Cuomo officially legalize MMA in his state.
The Long Island-based 26-year-old has been waiting for an opportunity to fight in his home state for a long time, and seems genuinely thrilled at this recent turn of events.
"This is a historic moment for sure, and I’m excited about it," he said to MMA Fighting. "My whole thing is I can’t wait to inspire the next young fighters from my hometown. I got a bunch of kids who would like the opportunity just to able to dabble in a sport like this. It’s going to be a great opportunity not just for me but for everybody, great opportunities across the board."
He added that the first UFC event in New York (likely UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden) should be a "New York vs. The World"-themed card.
There's certainly some precedent for something like that. The UFC previously held a Brazil vs. The World card at UFC 134, which marked the promotion's first show in that country in over 10 years.
As for Sterling's immediate future, he'll battle Bryan Caraway at UFC Fight Night 88 on May 29. If he can win there, he'll have a victory over the #8-ranked contender and an undefeated UFC record, and might just make a strong case for a shot at the Bantamweight title.