Read about Sean O’Malley’s stunning victory over Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292 and his plans for the future. Find out who he wants to fight next and his thoughts on Alexander Volkanovski.
Much to the delight of countless fans (and perhaps even Uncle Dana himself), this past weekend, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley defeated Aljamain Sterling via a stunning second-round TKO at UFC 292, ascending to the bantamweight throne in the process.
And while certain fighters in his position would’ve probably downplayed losing their strap in such an uncompetitive fashion, the outgoing champ has demonstrated a surprising — almost character-redeeming — amount of humility at the conclusion of his perennially-questioned reign.
In fact, this recent reality check has even led ‘Funk Master’ to reconsider moving up a division, where he’d face Australia’s very own pound-for-pound king, Alexander Volkanovski, for a shot at the featherweight title: ‘If [O’Malley] caught me like that, I can’t imagine what Volk will do.’
Prior to his UFC 292 result, Aljamain Sterling wasn’t the only one who fancied his chances against Volkanovski — so too did retired UFC welterweight champion and Hall of Famer, Matt Serra, who believed the former would easily secure a submission or ‘break’ the latter’s jaw.
‘That’s a winnable fight. No disrespect, I like Volkanovski a lot,’ Serra claimed on The Schaub Show (via Sports Illustrated).
Incidentally, Sean O’Malley’s head coach Tim Welch believed the opposite. ‘I truly think Volkanovski is pound-for-pound the best fighter on earth right now,’ Welch said on Submission Radio. ‘So, as good as Aljo is, as strong as he is, as good of a grappler as he is, I think Volkanovski would batter Aljo.’
Welch added in reference to Sterling: ‘I really do think he’s the greatest bantamweight of all time. And people debate that, saying Dominick Cruz is and stuff, but you look at his resume. OK, you got to take out the fact that TJ [Dillashaw] was hurt because that was no one’s fault but TJ’s that he stepped in there. And how good Cory Sandhagen is. He’s so good skilled, and Aljo took him out under a minute. And then how big of a beast and how confident Henry Cejudo is. Explosive boxer, Olympic champion, just a beast of an athlete and one of the best competitors out there. And then Aljo beats him also. So, I think it’s pretty easy to say Aljo is the best bantamweight there’s ever been right now.’
So what comes next now that UFC 292 is in the rear-view mirror? While Aljamain Sterling has obviously expressed interest in an immediate rematch, fast-tracking what he hopes to be a swift campaign to reclaim the bantamweight throne, Sean O’Malley has already shot down the proposal. Instead, the newly-crowned division king and star of ‘The Suga Show’ is eyeing a rematch against Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera for his inaugural title defense, potentially at UFC 296 this coming December; as well as flirting with the possibility of a boxing bout against Gervonta Davis.
Welcome to a new era of MMA.