Aljamain Sterling’s next title defense has been made official. As announced by UFC president Dana White himself, “Funkmaster” will defend the undisputed bantamweight belt against “Sugar” Sean O’Malley at UFC 292.
But according to Sterling’s coach Ray Longo, the champion has not agreed to the fight yet.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley made official
White made a series of fight announcements via social media on Tuesday night. UFC 291 alone is turning out to be a stacked event, which will be headlined by a rematch between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier, with the vacant ‘BMF’ title on the line.
He then announced UFC 292’s headliner that features the Sterling-O’Malley matchup, which as White described is the “fight that everybody’s been waiting for.” The event will take place on August 19 in Boston, the UFC’s first event in the city since 2019.
Aljamain Sterling’s coach has “no knowledge” of the champ’s agreement
Meanwhile, things have yet to be finalized from the champion’s side of things, at least according to head striking coach Ray Longo.
Longo was on the phone with journalist Shak Mahjouri when the fight was announced, and he says he has “no knowledge” that Sterling already agreed to the fight.
Sterling already had a date in mind
For his part, the champion isn’t in full agreement with the quick turnaround. Having just fought at UFC 288 early this month, Sterling prefers to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and understandably so.
If it were up to him, he would fight towards the third quarter of the year, and he says the UFC’s August plan for the O’Malley fight is “frustrating.”
“There’s a lot at play where it’s like, man, I feel like I didn’t get time to enjoy this moment because I feel like I’m jumping right back into the fire all over again,” he said in a recent interview.
“I was expecting to have a little more time to kind of enjoy it a little bit. And I do want to be active, that’s why I asked for September. Because October is back in Abu Dhabi.”
Set to co-headline UFC 292 is Zhang Weili’s first title defense in her second stint as strawweight champion, as she takes on Amanda Lemos.
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