Morning Report: Sean O’Malley proposes an interim title fight against ‘Chito’ Vera, if Aljamain Sterling wishes to remain out of the ring until June


Sean O’Malley doesn’t want to wait until next summer to fight.

In October, O’Malley picked up the biggest win of his career, taking a split decision victory over Petr Yan at UFC 280. The win vaulted O’Malley up to the No. 1 spot in the UFC’s bantamweight rankings and makes him the presumptive next title challenger for Aljamain Sterling’s title, but there’s one problem: Sterling doesn’t want to fight anytime soon.

Sterling — who also fought at UFC 280, beating T.J. Dillashaw in dominant fashion — recently said that after fighting twice in 2022, he’d like to take some time off, saying June would be his preferred timeline to return. And for O’Malley, that wait might simply be too long.

“It is so difficult to know, because everyone’s unique. O’Malley stated that Aljo has lost a lot of weight. “He’s probably already back up to 165-170, he’s probably like, ‘I don’t want to cut weight again in the next couple of months, I want to enjoy it.’ But if you do think… he wants to wait eight months. I get it, I do, but say the No. 1 contender, ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley is ready to go in March, and the next guy in line, in my opinion, should be [Marlon] ‘Chito’ Vera. He beat Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar. Why not have a little interim belt and then the winner of the interim belt fight Aljo when he’s ready?

“I went through a war and I’m ready to go in March. Although I did not have to go through a 5-round camp training, it was a good experience nonetheless. It is difficult to know what I would have done differently. Because it is not always what I want or what Aljo desires, I cannot speak to them until they talk first. They have a plan. They are clear about what they intend .”

O’Malley and Marlon Vera are arguably the two biggest stars in the bantamweight division, and they have a backstory as well, with Vera stopping O’Malley at UFC 252, a loss O’Malley still disputes. Given their history and their names, O’Malley is confident a rematch between the two would do big business for the UFC, but the terms would have to be right.

“Who has a greater fight than me against Chito?” O’Malley inquired. You could do ?… that’s already booked. People would choose me vs. “Chito” for an interim belt. But also, me vs. ‘Chito’, interim title, main event, PPV, does however many buys, and me and ‘Chito’ technically don’t get PPV buys, I’d rather not do that. I’d rather say, ‘No, I’ll just wait.’ Again, I’ve got to talk to the UFC. We’ll see.”

The other name in the bantamweight title mix right now is former two-division champion and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. Cejudo retired from MMA in 2020 but announced his return this year and has made overtures at challenging for the bantamweight title. Following UFC 280, Dana White suggested Cejudo could be next in line for Sterling, but O’Malley isn’t so sure.

“Me is possible. “I just don’t think anyone takes Henry Cejudo serious. I don’t think anyone really cares if he comes back. Henry vs. Aljo would make a great fight. I would watch it. But it is not a big money fight. Me vs. ‘Chito’ is a way bigger fight, me vs. Aljo is a way bigger fight.”

O’Malley noted that he had not spoken with the UFC after his victory over Yan but stated that he will soon. However, O’Malley doesn’t want to be on the sidelines eight months without a good reason.

” “It’s difficult to decide but I think March is an ideal time for me,” O’Malley stated. “I like fighting in March. If they have a big card in March, in Vegas, you can probably see me on there.”


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Thanks so much for reading! See y’all tomorrow.


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