By Dane McGuire
Sean O’Malley called his shot at the UFC 292’s pre-fight press conference, predicting a striking finish against Aljamain Sterling. As a result, the UFC has a new men’s bantamweight champion.
Sterling won a rather uneventful first round, featuring some leg kicks and clinch striking before the horn. However, Sterling loaded up on a missed punch. O’Malley dropped Sterling with a counter right and finished with ground and pound. The fight ended at 0:52 of Round 2.
“Honestly this was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a fight,” O’Malley said in his post-fight interview. “In my eyes, Aljamain Sterling is the best bantamweight of all time. I was a little bit nervous but I never lost the confidence because I know what I possess in this f****** right hand!
“I said going into this fight, it only takes one mistake against me. I don’t even know if that was a mistake — I’m just that f****** good!”
Despite typical pre-fight trash talk, Sterling paid the new champion respect in the aftermath.
“Sean is a lot better than I thought,” Sterling said. “He did really good job of being elusive and staying on the outside of the cage. I can’t say nothing bad about the guy. Congrats to him and his team. This was nothing but respect at the end of the day.
There had been discussion of Sterling moving up to featherweight, but now he’s not quite sure. After the in-cage post-fight interviews, he said to the media that he’d like to think he’s earned an immediate rematch.
“I’ve lost before, I’ve been knocked out before. I picked myself up and I became a UFC champion. Do not be surprised if you comeback and you see me in here again and this time getting the belt. Definitely got to go back and reassess some things because if he caught me like that, I could only imagine what [Alexander] Volkanovski would do,” Sterling added.
Meanwhile, the 17-1 O’Malley wants to avenge his lone defeat to Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera. Vera secured a win of his own to kick off the UFC 292 main card.
“This is just the beginning of the ‘Suga’ era,” O’Malley said immediately afterward. “I’m running this s*** until 2035, baby. Did ‘Chito’ [Vera] win? Was it boring? Probably. I’ll whoop ‘Chito’s ass in December in Vegas at T-Mobile. Let’s f****** go.”
He also wants to crossover to boxing against Gervonta Davis.
“Just the way [Vera] acts, he’s so annoying. He’s not funny, he tries to be. He’s so ugly. He dresses like an idiot. It’s like, ‘God, do I really have to give this guy an opportunity?’ I’ll probably just go out there and whoop his ass, make a lot of money, so I could. So that could be it.
“I also wouldn’t mind knocking out Gervonta Davis, and I know people are going to go, ‘Ooh, you’re a wannabe Conor.’ I’m telling you, that fight is going to happen,” O’Malley said.