Sean O’Malley has some reservations about serving as the backup for the upcoming UFC bantamweight championship fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo.
Despite Sterling vs. Cejudo being all but confirmed for UFC 288, ‘Triple C’ said Sean O’Malley should ‘stay ready’ and ‘stay prepared’ in case the ‘Funk Master’ withdraws from their fight. The reigning champion has dealt with a bicep injury recently, so Cejudo wanted ’Suga’ on standby.
But does Sean O’Malley want to be the backup? In a recent video on his YouTube channel, he explained why he would decline the offer.
“This leaves me in a little position,” said Sean O’Malley on the BrOMalley Show. “You know, do I want to be a backup fighter? I could be technically, if I wanted to be for this amount of money. Do I need that amount of money? Not really. I’m rich as f—k, weird flex, no, I’m kidding. But it’s just like, weight cuts are hard, dude. They’re very — I mean, I’m almost thinking right now, we’re so far out, it’s still tricky to say. I might just do a full fight camp, pretty much spar, diet, get to fight week, and then decide.”
As it turns out, the UFC offered O’Malley the backup role. Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported that though he declined it, the Contender Series alum said he would still start a camp if Sterling or Cejudo withdrew.
“I feel I’ll be in shape and ready if it happens,” said O’Malley. “I’ll officially go into camp and will be sparring in the next couple weeks. I’ll pretty much do a full camp, just without a weight cut at the end. I do think they’ll both make the fight, but Aljo has that biceps injury and he’ll be grappling a lot for this fight, so I’ll be ready.”
If everything goes smoothly with Sterling and Cejudo, then O’Malley awaits the winner. The new No. 1 contender targets a return to the Octagon during International Fight Week.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
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