UFC 299: Sean O’Malley Lists 3 Potential Opponents For Next Title Bout, Should He Beat Chito Vera

The UFC Bantamweight Champion reads off some names from his hit-list.

Sean O'Malley
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

What challenges could await Sean O’Malley in the near future?

To begin his 2024, the UFC Bantamweight Champion will defend his title against Chito Vera on Mar. 9. The long-awaited title rematch between rivals will headline UFC 299 in Miami, Florida. For O’Malley, this is an opportunity to avenge his one and only career loss from 2020.

The Fight Thereafter

All eyes are on O’Malley as he will make his first title defense after dethroning Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292. An emphatic win over Vera would catapult him to even higher levels. Should ‘Suga’ reign victorious in Vice City, there are some fights in particular that appeal to the 29 year-old in his home division and the one above. 

“There’s Merab [Dvalishvili], there’s Cory [Sandhagen], there’s Ilia [Topuria]— Those 3 are all potential for next,” O’Malley said on ‘The MMA Hour‘.  “I’m boom, laser focused, dialed, Chito, March 9th. Whatever happens after that, I’m very confident.”

O’Malley Claims ‘Merab’s Very Beatable..’

The general consensus seems to be that ‘The Machine’ Merab Dvalishvili is deserving of a title shot for his performance over former two-division Henry Cejudo at UFC 298. The case could be made for Cory Sandhagen, too, who’s riding a three-fight win streak.

O’Malley has come to the conclusion there is a more dangerous opponent and a more scary opponent out there than Sandhagen. Though, the champion does reckon the on-fire Dvalivshvili has a chink in his armor and that the threat level is high in newly-crowned champion in Topuria.

“Merab’s very beatable. Henry [Cejudo] about knocked him out. Marlon Moraes about knocked him out. Merab’s got a crazy good gas tank. He’s got good wrestling. He’s a dangerous opponent. When I think of, like, a scary opponent, what makes me go, ‘oooh’, that’s Ilia [Topuria].

“Ilia gives me that he could put your f*cking lights out and change life. That’s a scary opponent. Merab’s a dangerous opponent. He just got that good cardio, and you could eventually put your lights out after you gas out. But he’s not like a [finisher], he didn’t finish Henry. So, we’ll see.”

The People’s Choice

As for who Sean O’Malley should fight next? The champ will leave that up in the air as he tackles his next defense against a very game Chito Vera first.

“I like big, big fights. I like when you’re when you grinding through these fight camps. Merab, I’m not saying that wouldn’t wouldn’t be up there. But what it comes down to is, what are the people really truly wanting to see? If they wanna see Merab… I mean, that’s what’s next. But again, hate even talking about that. I got Chito in front of me.”

Published on February 19, 2024 at 4:03 pm
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