Who should Sean O’Malley fight next after defeating Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292?
‘Suga’ was the underdog against the bantamweight champion Sterling, but his punching precision earned him the biggest win of his career.
He was considered to be one of the biggest rising stars in the UFC and he proved why on Saturday night. Sean O’Malley was the man at UFC 292 by defeating Aljamain Sterling and becoming the bantamweight champion at TD Garden, in Boston.
Suga, who was considered the underdog, sent Sterling to the canvas thanks to a powerful and precise right and he continued to land on his opponent’s face before the referee stopped the fight in Round 2.
O’Malley, who won a controversial split decision over Petr Yan the last time he fought, was confident going into the fight against Aljo, saying his stand-up game would be good enough to stop the fight and be crowned champion. With 12 knockouts out of his 17 wins, he’s considered one of the fiercest punchers and his spectacular fighting style has made him a significant force in the promotion.
Who should O’Malley fight next?
After Suga’s impressive win on Saturday, he’s now in a position where he will have more freedom to decide which fights he wants to be involved in.
It seems that his next bout will be against Marlon Vera, the only man to defeat him in his pro career. Chito beat via first-round TKO, finishing him with a flurry of strikes after dropping him with a calf kick.
During the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, O’Malley called out Vera and said he was ready to fight him in December.
Besides the Vera fight, many believe that after that he should challenge the division’s No. 1 contender, Merab Dvashvili, who won a clear decision against Petr Yan in March.
The Georgian fighter is a close friend of Sterling, as they train together at Serra-Longo fight team, and he would be very motivated not only for the possibility of winning the title but also of avenging his teammate’s loss.
Although Merashvili would be a tough opponent for O’Malley, given his relentless pressure and his durability, the Montana native could decide to try to make history and go up in weight to challenge the featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
However, it’s unlikely that O’Malley will decide to bulk up and challenge such a good opponent as Volk, so he may stay in the bantamweight division and try to establish himself there for a few more fights.
Boxing: Conor McGregor and Gervonta Davis?
In the post-fight press conference, O’Malley shared his thoughts about his plans, which include the possibility of mega-crossover fights, including the likes of Conor McGregor and Gervonta Davis.
“I wouldn’t mind knocking out Gervonta Davis. I know people are going to go ‘Oh you’re a wannabe Conor,’ but I’m telling you, bro, that fight is going to happen... I would love to go over and box him, he’s not that f***ing tall, dude. I’ve never seen him in person”, he said.
“I feel like it could happen sooner than later but I also know that UFC is down to get behind stuff like that if it’s big enough and with that performance I think we’re getting close. But maybe I have to go out there and win a couple more fights, win another belt because I don’t even know if he’s considered a big enough star for the UFC to let that happen”, O’Malley added.
“(...) I’ve heard of Gervonta Davis and I think he’s undefeated. I want to have crazy massive fights, that s*** gets me excited. I love that stuff and there are no stars in the bantamweight division. Gervonta you could consider him almost a star, and that’s what gets me excited. Me vs Gervonta at T-Mobile or here [in Boston] would be massive, f*** it!”, he concluded.
UFC president Dana White may not like that one of the promotion’s most valuable fighters decides to take a break from the MMA world to feature in boxing fights. When former heavyweight king Francis Ngannou showed interest in fighting Tyson Fury in a boxing match, White wasn’t very happy with the idea, so it remains to be seen what will happen in the case of Suga.