Additional sources told ESPN that contracts have not been signed but the UFC is working to book the fight. Once official, the 135-pound title fight will serve as the co-main event at UFC 256, which will take place at the UFC's Apex facility in Las Vegas. A female featherweight bout between Amanda Nunes (20-4) and Megan Anderson (10-4) will headline.
Yan (15-1) won the UFC's vacant title in July by knocking out Jose Aldo in the fifth round of a title fight at UFC 251. The title was vacated earlier this year by double champion Henry Cejudo, who had announced his retirement. Yan, of Russia, is 7-0 in the UFC with four finishes.
Sterling (19-3) has been on an absolute tear since he suffered a first-round knockout loss to former champion Marlon Moraes in December 2017. Since then, he is 5-0 with wins over Brett Johns, Cody Stamann, Jimmie Rivera, Pedro Munhoz and Cory Sandhagen.
UFC 256 will be the UFC's final pay-per-view event of the year. The final event of 2020 will come one week later, a UFC Fight Night event on Dec. 19. White has already said he wants welterweight and middleweight phenom Khamzat Chimaev to headline that card against an opponent to be determined.