Aljamain Sterling Criticizes Sean O’Malley’s Win Over Marlon Vera, Accuses ‘Sugar’ Of Ducking Merab Dvalishvili

Aljo thinks "Sugar" doesn't want to face the next best bantamweight fighter in the world.

Aljamain Sterling Talks Sean O Malley Ufc 299
Aljamain Sterling Talks Sean O Malley Ufc 299 - Image credit @FunkMasterMMA Youtube @UFC Instagram
  • Aljamain Sterling weighed in on Sean O’Malley’s UFC 299 win over Marlon Vera
  • “Funk Master” thinks “Sugar” doesn’t want to fight his toughest challenger in Merab Dvalishvili

Aljamain Sterling gets brutally honest about his take on Sean O’Malley’s first title defense as the bantamweight champ.

Sean was more skilled than Chito

Speaking on his YouTube channel, “Funk Master” repeatedly stated that he was trying to tell it like it is and for him, O’Malley proved that he was better than Vera and that’s the story is all about.

“Chito is the more durable fighter, O’Malley is the more skilled fighter and that was the telltale for me and it’s not that Chito is not a great fighter. I just didn’t think this was the right moment for him to show that he’s earned the shot to be there but still a great fight nonetheless. I thought it was as one-sided as it can be and I’m trying to speak as honestly as I can,” Sterling said.

Sean is avoiding the next best challenger

After his UFC 299 win over Vera, “Sugar” insisted that he is moving up to featherweight to face Ilia Topuria for a “massive fight.” The way Sterling sees it, O’Malley is not trying to face the next best challenger in the bantamweight division.

For Aljo, Vera is clearly not the most competitive challenger there is but to avoid Merab Dvalishvili, who is undoubtedly next in line, seems kind of off and unbecoming for a champion.

“The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way a little bit, again and you could call me salty about it, you could call me a hater but… He should have called out Merab and did the right thing. I think it’s kind of ridiculous for him to say, ‘Dana [White], get the jet to Spain.’ Like what’re you talking about, dude? You defended the belt against a guy who wasn’t even ranked in the Top 5. They moved him up to the Top 5 to make it look like it was better like he fought a Top 5 opponent. How did Chito move up in the rankings? Who did he beat to move up in the rankings? He just barely beat Pedro Munhoz… No knock on Pedro, I’m not trying to throw strays. I’m just trying to call a spade a spade.”

“It would be nice to fight a guy who’s next in line,” he explained. “So, that’s the only thing that I feel a little bit awkward about. But I’m like, Yeah, you won, but you won against a guy we were all expecting you to beat. So, as a champion, it’s hard for me to put a lot of stock in that because I just can’t respect it as much.”

“At the end of the day, if you beat the next best guy, that’s a true champion,” he added. “I think anybody with any type of respect for the game — you can say, ‘Well, that’s not the way the sport is being played anymore.’ That’s fair, but we’re talking about credibility in terms of the win. You go out there against a guy you’re supposed to beat and you beat him to a decision. Even O’Malley was kind of like, ‘Damn, I really thought I could finish him.’ That would have been a perfect highlight reel.”

“Now you kind of have that question mark of, ‘Well, if you fought the next best guy, would that fight look the same? If you fought [Cory] Sandhagen, if you fought Merab, would that fight have looked the same?’ It’s a good win to get your feet wet as the bantamweight king and I do look forward to O’Malley hopefully doing the right thing and calling out Merab. UFC doing the right thing and making this fight,” he concluded.

O’Malley and Sterling have been vocal about their disdain for one another. It is yet to be known who would “Sugar” face next but Sterling made a good point as Dvalishvili indeed presents a strong case to be the next title challenger, having gone unbeaten in 10 consecutive fights.

Watch Sterling’s full video below:

Published on March 11, 2024 at 11:40 am
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