“Honestly, this was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a fight. In my eyes, Aljamain Sterling is the best bantamweight of all time,” O’Malley said in his post-fight interview. “So yeah, I was a little bit nervous for this fight, but I never lost the confidence because I know what I possess in this f—ng right hand.”
He revealed the reason for those nerves soon after.
Sean O’Malley says he was injured, couldn’t grapple
“I haven’t grappled in six weeks. I had a muscle strain and I literally couldn’t grapple in six weeks, couldn’t MMA spar,” Sean O’Malley said at the UFC 292 post-fight press conference.
The new champion then revealed that he was extra nervous because there was a chance he could’ve lost due to injury if he was taken down.
“I was the main event in Boston. There was no shot I was pulling out, but we haven’t grappled. Six weeks from today I got a muscle strain right under my rib. Coming into this fight against Aljo, every interview I was saying ‘it was life or death — I cannot get taken down.’ It was because I didn’t know if this would hold up,” he revealed.
“It’s sore right now. I don’t know if it’s from a kick or just the little bit of grappling that we did,” O’Malley said.
“Dealing with those mental demons coming into this fight, knowing I was injured-ish… When I said it was life or death, I was referring to that, but I’m not going to come out and say I was injured.”
Who’s next for new champ Sean O’Malley after UFC 292?
“Did Chito win? Was it boring? Probably. I’ll whoop Chito’s ass in December in Vegas at T-Mobile,” he said.
Marlon Vera won on the same UFC 292 card, beating Pedro Munhoz by decision. In 2020, Vera handed O’Malley the first and only loss of his MMA career.
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