Sean O’Malley has called for a bantamweight rematch with Marlon Vera. Only this time, UFC gold will be on the line.
‘Suga’ called for an interim title fight with ‘Chito’ while reigning UFC bantamweight champion and top ten pound-for-pound talent Aljamain Sterling takes some time off to recover following his most recent title defense and TKO victory over T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280.
O’Malley lost to Vera via injury TKO in 2020 and believes now would be the perfect time for both fighters to run it back, with the winner being declared interim bantamweight champ and going on to fight Sterling in a potential title unification bout.
“It’s so hard to say, everyone’s different. I get it, Aljo cuts a lot of weight,” O’Malley said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Fighting). “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 just beat Dominick Cruz, beat Frankie Edgar, beat some good guys. 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. I didn’t have a five-round training camp, but I wouldn’t have trained much different… It’s hard to say. I can’t say anything until I talk to the UFC first, because ultimately, it’s not necessarily what I want, what Aljo wants — they have a plan. They know what they want to do.”
He continued: “Who is a bigger fight than me vs. Chito right now? That’s not booked, that you could make right now?… Me vs. ‘Chito’ for an interim belt, people would take that. 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.”
O’Malley last fought at UFC 280 where he defeated former 135-pound champ Petr Yan via split decision, with the bout earning Fight of the Night honors and O’Malley catapulting to #1 in the UFC bantamweight rankings. He would like to return no later than March 2023 on a stacked card in Las Vegas, stating: “It’s hard to say but I just think March is a good time frame for me. 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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