Sean O’Malley definitely sees himself once again sharing the Octagon with Aljamain Sterling someday.
On August 19, O’Malley scored the biggest win of his mixed martial arts career, blasting the ‘Funk Master’ with a beautiful counter right hand that sent Sterling crashing to the canvas in the opening minute of round two. Seconds later, the fight was waived off and O’Malley would be dubbed the new bantamweight world champion.
Moments after landing the highlight-reel finish in the UFC 292 main event, Sean O’Malley was already looking toward the future, calling out the only man to beat him inside the Octagon, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera.
As it stands, there is a bevy of potential title challengers chomping at the bit to get their shot at the new 135-pound king. Merab Dvalishvili, Cory Sandhagen, and Henry Cejudo, to name a few. But no matter who Sean O’Malley shares the Octagon with for his first title defense, ‘Sugar’ believes it’s just a matter of time before he crosses paths with Aljamain Sterling once again.
“He has a medical suspension from the fight. If my timeframe plays out the way I want it to be, I’ll be fighting in December,” O’Malley said during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show.” Therefore, there’d be no rematch there. Me and Aljo could very well meet up. I do think him moving up to 145 makes sense. He’s a very big guy. He’s not going to be outpowered at 145. He’s very strong. Very physical. He’s gonna have better grappling than a lot of those guys at 145.
“Who knows, we could even meet at 145 someday. I know he’s getting up there a little bit in age, but to be honest, Aljo is still in his prime. Three and a half months ago he beat Henry Cejudo, but he just got caught. But I think with Aljo, that fight could definitely happen sometime down the line in the future.”
Pending a rib injury sustained during his UFC 292 headliner, Sean O’Malley plans on closing out his year at UFC 296 when the promotion presents itself final pay-per-view of 2023. No official announcements have been made regarding the date or his potential opponent, but all signs point toward O’Malley running back his 2020 clash with ‘Chito’ Vera. If that fight does not come to fruition, top-ranked contender Merab Dvalishvili has already confirmed that he will be ready to go by December 16 should ‘Sugar’ need an opponent.
Who do you want to see Sean O’Malley defend his bantamweight title against first?