Aljamain Sterling believes Sean O’Malley is taking the easy path by advocating for their UFC bantamweight title fight to be in August.
On May 6, Sterling defended the 135-pound title for the third time in a five-round battle against Henry Cejudo. Although championship fight camps are brutal, ‘Funk Master’ agreed to fight again three months later against O’Malley on August 19.
Sterling attempted to push the fight date back, but O’Malley and the UFC brass were persistent about the title fight being the UFC 292 main event. During an interview with Chamatkar Sandu, the UFC bantamweight king called out ‘Sugar’ by saying:
“If it’s me, I want to fight you at your best. Not when I could feel like I could get you when you’re weak. Yeah, some people might say it’s smarter to do that. Yeah, it is tactically, but you get no respect for that. And if you go out there and get smashed, even having those advantages going in, bro, you should reevaluate your career and see what you really want to do.”
“That’s my mentality going in. You want to take the easy road and try to be a little b*tch and get somebody in there faster because you know you’re going to have those advantages because I just came out of a really tough fight with Henry.”
O’Malley last fought in October 2022, defeating Petr Yan by split decision. Therefore, ‘Sugar’ will have wear and tear from his training camp, but he won’t have lingering injuries like Sterling does from a recent five-round fight. Only time will tell if ‘Funk Master’ can continue his impressive run in the bantamweight division.
Aljamain Sterling plans to move up to featherweight regardless of the outcome against Sean O’Malley
Aljamain Sterling has been teasing a move up to the featherweight division for nearly a year. The brutal weight cut down to 135 pounds is becoming too much for Sterling, especially with his intention to stay active. During the same interview with Chamatkar Sandu, ‘Funk Master’ had this to say about his inevitable move to 145:
“Win or learn, this is probably my last fight at bantamweight… Even if I were to learn, and I didn’t get my hand raised, it damn sure ain’t because of Sean O’Malley running me out of the division. It’s more so this sh*t is getting old, man. It hurts.”
Sterling continued by saying:
“You think I wouldn’t like to just turn around? Yeah, I could turn around and go fight 145 and go fight three-and-a-half months later, which is pretty much what this fight is. It’s the weight cut.”
Before focusing on what’s next, Sterling is locked in for his bantamweight title defense against Sean O’Malley. ‘Funk Master’ has been doubted throughout his title run, but he continues to prove people wrong by emerging victorious. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion is a -255 betting favorite, with O’Malley as the +215 underdog.
Quotes provided by MMA Junkie