Since losing to Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 in August, Aljamain Sterling has requested an immediate rematch. The now former UFC champion said during his post-fight press conference that he ‘100 percent’ thought he earned the opportunity to square off with O’Malley again, but ’Suga’ seems to have someone else in his crosshairs. Spoiler alert: It is not Sterling.
Aljamain Sterling shoots his shot at rematch with Sean O‘Malley, gets denied
Aljamain Sterling was in attendance for UFC 293, where he decided to get a little creative with his most recent attempt at requesting an immediate rematch with Sean O’Malley. When cameras panned over to the ‘Funk Master,’ he held up his phone that had “Rematch, Suga?” with a series of money bag emojis underneath it. In a few minutes, the Serra-Longo Fight Team representative had his answer from O’Malley.
“No,” said O’Malley. “If it was close, maybe.”
To Sterling, he thought it was close in the first round against O’Malley.
“Going in there I felt I should be able to get the job done and I do think I was on my way to doing what I did in the first round and replicating that for four more rounds,” said Sterling on his official YouTube channel. “Got a little excited, overextended, and gave the man the one thing that he always excels at is when guys overextend, they reach. O’Malley capitalizes and he cracks guys.
“Credit to Sean,” continued Sterling. “He stayed patient waiting for that clean shot to come. I made the one mistake he wanted me to make at some point during the fight and I never got an opportunity to showcase my grappling skills to the world and show the world why I’m the best.”
If not Sterling, then who‘s next for O‘Malley?
Not one to miss out on an opportunity to call out Sean O’Malley, top-ten UFC contender Marlon Vera also joined in on the phone-related fun. ‘Chito’ posted a photo of himself with his phone that had ‘I’m next’ on it. Funnily enough, Vera could indeed get the next shot at O’Malley.
After getting a decision win against Pedro Munhoz on the same night O’Malley dethroned Sterling, the Ecuadorian fighter said he would beat his former foe again. Vera was the first — and only fighter — to hand O’Malley a loss throughout his UFC tenure thus far.
Now that O’Malley and Vera are on a collision course, the newly crowned UFC champion said he would love to have Vera as his first challenger.
“I called out the Chito fight before the fight even happened,” said O’Malley during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “Before me vs. Aljo, before Pedro vs. Chito, I said, ‘Hey, Chito goes out there and wins, I go out there and win, I’m fighting Chito for my first title defense,’ and that’s what happened. That’s what’s going to happen next in my eyes, that’s what I want.
“At the end of the day, I’ll go out there and knock out whoever [the UFC] puts in front of me,” continued O’Malley. “I’m sure the UFC’s down with that. Like I said, they’re in the fight business. Me vs. Chito is the biggest fight in the bantamweight division to make. There’s not even one that’s really close. Me versus anyone is going to be a big fight because I’m a pretty big name.”
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