Dana White confirms Aljamain Sterling’s next title challenger

UFC president Dana White already has an idea for when and where Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley will take place.

By: Kristen King | 3 weeks ago
Dana White confirms Aljamain Sterling’s next title challenger
Dana White at a press conference for UFC San Antonio in March 2023 | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

UFC president Dana White is gearing up for Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley. This past Saturday, Sterling defeated Henry Cejudo via split decision to retain the UFC bantamweight championship. A few seconds after his win against the former two-division UFC champion, the ‘Funk Master’ came face-to-face with his next opponent: O’Malley. 

Sterling and O’Malley started hyping up their upcoming fight, and White shed some light on when and where he expects it to happen. 

“[Sean O’Malley] is next, said White during his post-fight press conference. “Probably in August.” 

As for where he expects Sterling vs. O’Malley to happen, the UFC president hinted at Boston, which is set to host UFC 292, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for Aug. 19. 

Aljamain Sterling gives his preferred timeline, location for Sean O’Malley

Upon hearing the news from White, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion was a tad disappointed in where the promotion has set its sights on his next defense.

“That is news to me,” said Sterling during an interview with Aaron Bronsteter of TSN Sports. “I don’t want to go to Boston. Dana, I’ve been trying to fight at the T-Mobile Arena [in Las Vegas, Nevada] for God knows how long. Can we fight in Vegas? I want to fight in Vegas. I want to fight in Vegas where it’s nice and hot, go to a pool party. Boston’s cool, but I want to go back to the West Coast. 

“And [Sean O’Malley] is going to be a favorite,” continued Sterling. “He’ll probably be a favorite over there. I know there’s a big Irish crowd over there. Whatever, it is what it is.”

Though White said Sterling vs. O’Malley could happen in August, the Serra-Longo Fight Team product would prefer to have one more month to prepare for his next defense. Heading into this fight with Cejudo, the 33-year-old was dealing with a bicep injury that saw him receive stem cell treatment to avoid surgery. 

Treatment went well, but Sterling wants to ‘let the stem cells continue to do their thing’ before he returns to the Octagon. 

“I’m just looking towards the future, keeping my body healthy, and do as best as I can to stay consistent, said Sterling at his post-fight press conference. “I would like to fight in September, then fight again in December. People think I just want to sit on the sidelines. I only get paid when I fight! So, guys, I don’t want to sit on the sidelines, I want to be active.”

Aljamain Sterling warns O’Malley ahead of their fight

As for his next opponent, Sterling said O’Malley is in for a rude awakening when they fight. 

“My thoughts on Sean O’Malley is that motherf—ker is frail,” said Sterling at his post-fight press conference. “Frail. You think if I could take down a short, stocky guy like Henry, who’s actually a gold medalist and has good takedown defense, what am I going to do to Sean O’Malley? Let’s be honest here, guys. Yeah, he’s been promised a title shot. He opted not to take the title shot and gave Henry a chance to come back and chase history. I beat Henry. Now there’s no more running. 

“You either want to swim with the big boys or you don’t. If not, get the f—k out of the pool or go up a weight class or some s—t,” continued Sterling. “Don’t keep sitting around here, talking, barking and not saddling up and taking the opportunities that are given. This is what the sport is all about. You take the opportunities that are given to you. I guarantee you, we step in there, I think I fold that man in half in one round.” 

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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