The rivalry between UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley and top-ten contender Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera is alive and well.
Following his impressive second-round knockout of Aljamain Sterling to claim the 135-pound crown at UFC 292, Sean O’Malley immediately called for a rematch with Vera, the only man to defeat him inside the Octagon. In their August 2020 meeting, Vera scored a first-round TKO over O’Malley after ‘Sugar’ suffered a leg injury in the opening minutes.
Sean O’Malley has been chomping at the bit to run it back ever since.
Now that he holds the bantamweight title, O’Malley may have the pull to make the long-awaited rematch happen, even if Vera just recently bounced back from a split decision loss to Cory Sandhagen in March.
Everything appeared to be full steam ahead once ‘Sugar’ wrapped the gold around his waist in Boston, suggesting a fight with Vera in December at UFC 296 would be next. We have neither seen nor heard from them since.
“This bitch talking about boxing, defend that belt mcgregor wannabe,” Vera stated on social media, sending a message to Sean O’Malley.
Quickly, the bantamweight champion responded saying, “Lolz I ain’t tryin to box. Shits to ez [,] I wana fight your dumb ass.”
No official announcement has been made regarding Sean O’Malley’s return to the Octagon or who it could come against.
Sean O’Malley Has Multiple Contenders More Deserving than ‘Chito’ Vera
A rematch against Marlon Vera has a built-in story that would be easy for the UFC to sell, but there are far more deserving fighters in the stacked lightweight division, including No. 2 ranked contender Merab Dvalishvili. The Machine’ is currently sitting on a nine-fight win streak, his last victory being a decisive unanimous decision against former titleholder Petr Yan.
If O’Malley isn’t jumping directly into a rematch with Aljamain Sterling, a fight against Dvalishvili is certainly the one to make, but ‘Sugar’ seems far more interested in taking the easy road. That’s not a knock on Vera, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone that ‘Chito’ would be a tougher fight compared to the ‘Funk Master’ and Merab Dvalishvili.