Head Coach of Sean O’Malley Calls Aljamain Sterling ‘The Most Dangerous Bantamweight Champion There’s Ever Been’

Sean O'Malley's coach, Tim Welch, believe Aljamain Sterling is the most dangerous 135-pounder of all time, but believes if any man can beat him, it's O'Malley

Sean O'Malley
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

Sean O’Malley is gearing up for the biggest fight of his mixed martial arts career this August.

As announced by Dana White, O’Malley will get his long-awaited shot at a UFC title as he is set to square off with reigning bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292. Emanating from TD Garden in Boston, the event will see ‘Funk Master’ make a relatively quick turnaround after successfully defending his title against the returning Henry Cejudo earlier this month at UFC 288.

Following the announcement, O’Malley’s head coach and podcast co-host Tim Welch spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto about the highly anticipated bantamweight clash and how his fighter is preparing for his toughest challenge yet.

“Stylistically, this is the most dangerous bantamweight champion there’s ever been. I really think that. He’s just so athletic. He’s long. He’s strong and he’s not just a good wrestler. He’s a good wrestler with good jiu-jitsu and he’s very funky. He’s very funky. He switches stances. He throws spazzy things and he’s good at chaining his wrestling together. He’s the most dangerous bantamweight there’s ever been in my opinion and we look forward to the challenge,” Welch said.

“If you make one simple mistake, he’s going to be on your back the whole time. And his cardio’s gotten better. He’s not only good at grappling. He’s good at MMA grappling too so he’s good at mixing it up. The timing’s going to be right when he’s ready to start punching you. Then he’s going to keep advancing to half-guard and then try to mount you, force you to give up your back. He’s just very good physically and technically.”

Welch touched on Sean O’Malley’s training and preparation for Aljamain Sterling, revealing that they are focusing on dealing with the pressure that ‘Funk Master’ brings to his opponents.

“If anybody’s going to be able to do it, Sugar’s going to be able to do it,” Welch continued. “His whole career, the game plan against Sean has been to pressure him, get him on the fence, and take him down. His whole career has been that way. In training, we find the best guys we can to try to pressure him. To try to put him on the cage. To try and take him down. And Sean, every time he shows up in that cage, he’s game. He’s in there to win so if anyone can do it, Sugar can do it.

“Aljo hasn’t fought anyone like Sean. Anyone who’s near as fast as him. Has KO power in every limb and it’s funky, similar to Aljo. So Aljo’s never fought no one like Sugar and we’ve never fought no one like Aljo so we’re going to find out what happens.”

Tim Welch Says It’s Not If, But When Sean O’Malley Catches Aljamain Sterling

Tim Welch believes that it’s not a matter of if, but when Sean O’Malley catches Aljamain Sterling on the chin. He suggested that it would likely come during the transitional moments that tend to take ‘Funk Master’ off balance during his fights.

“On the in-betweens after a failed shot where Aljo thinks he’s coming up or after… He gets off-balance a lot. You see it against Petr Yan. He gets off-balance and starts turtling up and I see in those in-betweens, I see that’s where Sean is going to find his chin and hurt him.

“And just like everyone else, gotta stay super composed when you hurt the guy because you hurt him and you can empty your tank real quick. Especially in a five-round fight. So once we do hurt him, because we’re gonna hurt him, it’s going to be important to stay composed.”

UFC 292 will air live on August 19 on ESPN+ pay-per-view. In addition to the bantamweight championship headliner, fans will also be treated to the return of reigning strawweight women’s champion Zhang Weili as she defends her title against No. 4 ranked contender Amanda Lemos. 

Published on May 19, 2023 at 1:03 pm
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