Sean O’Malley’s 1st UFC title defense should be obvious

The King is dead. Long live the king, Sean O'Malley.

By: Evan Zivin | 1 month ago

Move over, Conor McGregor, because there’s a new man ready to throttle UFC for everything he can possibly get away with, and his name is Sean O’Malley.

MMA: UFC 292 - Sterling vs O'Malley Aug 19, 2023; Boston, MA, USA; Aljamin Sterling (red gloves) exchanges words with Sean O'Malley (blue gloves) after their fight during UFC 292 at TD Garden. Boston TD Garden MA USA,
IMAGO | USA TODAY by Bob DeChiara

I don’t know if it’s just me but it kinda feels a bit like all the praise being thrown at the new UFC Bantamweight Champion is…I don’t want to say undeserved but it’s all a bit sudden and out of nowhere, isn’t it?

Conor’s ascent to the top was as perfect as anyone could have made it, from the Dublin headliner, to the brutal war of words (and then fists) with Dustin Poirier, to the seemingly year-long world tour in which he hunted for Jose Aldo before taking his head with a single punch.

UFC couldn’t have booked that any better. If it was a pro wrestling storyline, it would be lauded as one of the most expertly crafted stories ever.

For Sean O’Malley, he beat a bunch of nobodies, was gifted a decision against Petr Yan, and then waited 10 months sitting around and picking at whatever low hanging fruit was presented to him.

Okay, I know that’s not entirely fair to say, but I’m not cool enough to be one of his 3 million Instagram followers. Also, my Mom won’t let me paint my hair pink. She’s literally ruining my life.

Sean O’Malley is the man on the UFC scene

However Sean O’Malley made it to the top, he certainly made the most of the opportunity by defeating Aljamain Sterling at Saturday’s UFC 292 to become the new king.

And the plaudits have been significant, from Dana White saying Sean O’Malley is already a star to ESPN’s socials proclaiming the win as “thrilling.”

Get it? Thrilling? It’s a reference to that classic Michael Jackson song “Billie Jean.” Or was it that other song? Hmmm…

Anyway, after O’Malley got the win and made out like a “Smooth Criminal” (pretty sure that’s an Alien Ant Farm song, right?), all the questions turned to what’s next? The world wants to know who’s going to be featured on the next episode of The Suga Show and it seems pretty likely we’re going to get a major rematch.

That’s right: it’s going to Sean O’Malley defending his UFC Bantamweight Championship against…Marlon Vera?

Wait, what?

Aljamain had the most successful reign of any 135 pound champion in the UFC to date and lost a fight with a competitive first round and a questionable stoppage and he’s not going to be guaranteed to get an immediate rematch?

Alas, ‘tis true that Aljamain is about to get dicked over, as it’s quite clear that Dana is in Sean O’Malley’s corner.

Remember, kids: nothing is a guarantee in the UFC, except when it is.

Thanks, Dana White Privilege™!

Oh and by the way, Belal. Don’t be surprised if you get a call saying you’re fighting Ian Garry next. Best of luck!

All Aljamain is asking…is for a little respect (and a rematch)

The UFC President bragged at the post-fight presser about how big 292’s gate was and how the main event was the biggest in bantamweight history and he gave pretty much all of the credit for that to Sean O’Malley. They even uploaded the knockout to YouTube so everyone can see for free what UFC expected people to pay $80 to see the night before.

Well, I certainly don’t feel like I got screwed out of my money. Nope. That’s clearly my fault for trying to watch the event through legitimate means instead of just waiting around for the Sportscenter highlights.

It’s not like Aljamain doesn’t have his own following. Of course, he also has a lot of detractors who don’t want to give him credit for anything because of the circumstances in which he won the title originally (geez, let it go already…), but to suggest that people haven’t been interested in his fights, either to see him win or lose, is crazy.

The temperature on Aljo has cooled off a bit since Saturday, which is good but I don’t expect the support to be there for him getting an immediate rematch, which seems wrong to me. The man was a champion for 2.5 years and defended his title three times. That should mean something.

If Kamaru Usman got an immediate rematch after getting knocked out by Leon Edwards, then Aljamain deserves one. If Israel Adesanya got an immediate rematch after getting stopped by Alex Pereira in what some considered an early stoppage, then Aljamain deserves one.

To deny Aljamain of that same opportunity would just be further proof that championships are meaningless and a fighter’s worth is measured solely by how many fans in the arena are telling your opponent to fornicate with themselves or whether the boss’s kids like (or don’t like) you.

But that’s probably what’s going to happen. O’Malley is calling the shots now so what he wants, he gets, like when Michael Bisping chose to defend the UFC Middleweight Championship against Dan Henderson instead of someone ranked in the Top 10. Revenge absolutely sells.

Of course, Sterling’s chance to get revenge against O’Malley would sell better than O’Malley getting revenge against Chito but who am I to question Sean’s business acumen? He clearly understands his worth. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gotten to this point when he did.

UFC just gets crazier from here

Sean O’Malley’s even trying to get the crossover boxing discussion going, saying he wants to fight Gervonta “Tank” Davis, which makes sense. If Conor got to fight Floyd Mayweather, Sean can certainly make a case to fight Floyd’s protege.

And the crazy thing is that I can’t say it won’t happen because we’ve been at this point before and it happened. I never would have thought UFC would want another star as big as Conor but, if Sean gets there, there may be little they can do to stop something like that from happening.

At this point, it may be that Dana has just decided to hop in and see how much juice this Lamborghini yacht has got, and I can’t say I blame him.

Oh wait. Yes I can. I can and I do.

C’mon, Dana. What are you going to do next for Sean O’Malley, shave your eyebrows? Don’t make me go get Merab.

At the very least, we can be thankful that Sean actually wants to defend his championship. That’s something Conor was never big into. Let’s see how long that plan lasts before he starts making side eyes at Alexander Volkanovski’s featherweight gold.

Don’t act like it won’t happen. Sean O’Malley took Aljo’s belt. Might as well take his dream match-up as well.

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About the author
Evan Zivin
Evan Zivin

Evan Zivin is a writer, having joined Bloody Elbow in 2023. He's been providing his unique takes on the sport of MMA since 2013, previously working as a featured columnist for 411Mania. Evan has followed MMA and professional wrestling for most of his life. His joy is in finding the stories and characters within all combat sports and presenting them in a serious yet light-hearted way.

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