Just before stepping into the Octagon and delivering one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley was backstage practicing the very strike that netted him his first world championship.
On Saturday night, O’Malley shocked the world by delivering a picture-perfect counter right that sent his opponent, Alajamain Sterling, crashing to the canvas. From there, it was only a matter of time before O’Malley finished the fight and claimed the bantamweight crown.
Less than 24 hours following his highlight-reel-worthy finish inside Boston’s iconic TD Garden, O’Malley released a video via his YouTube channel that shows O’Malley practicing the counter right that ended Sterling’s five-year undefeated streak at UFC 292.
The series of behind-the-scenes moments also shows Sean O’Malley’s immediate reaction to winning the biggest fight of his career and detailing all the adversity he faced going into the contest. ‘Sugar’ revealed that he had received cortisone shots in his back prior to beginning his fight camp and had been unable to grapple for the final six weeks of his preparation. He was also unable to run for the entirety of the camp due to issues with his knees.
“This is the first time I hadn’t ran. We did those stairs, but this is the first time I didn’t run on the treadmill,” O’Malley said. “The first camp I’ve ever done [without] it because my knees weren’t feeling great.”
Following the victory, Sean O’Malley called out the man who could be his first potential title challenger, Marlon Vera. With ‘Chito’ handing ‘Sugar’ his only loss inside the Octagon thus far, there is a very easy story for the promotion to sell, but with Merab Dvalishvili sitting atop the bantamweight contenders list and Aljamain Sterling determined to score an immediate rematch, it’s anyone’s guess who O’Malley will face in his first title defense.
Who would you like to see Sean O’Malley make his first title defense against?