In his final post of 2022, UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has suggested that Sean O’Malley may well be the next challenger for the title.
“Last workout of 2022! Getting ready for @sugasean 🎒 #NYE #Vegas #IYKYK #2023,” Sterling wrote on Instagram.
That claim comes despite the fact that it had been believed that former UFC double-champ Henry Cejudo was likely to be next in line for the champion.
Meanwhile, O’Malley had been eyeing a rematch with Marlon Vera next rather than the title shot, but that’s no longer an option in the near future as ‘Chito’ has been booked to fight Cory Sandhagen instead.
Nonetheless, on his ‘BroMalley’ show just a couple of days ago, O’Malley wasn’t giving any indications that he’d now be fighting Sterling next, and instead appeared to still be talking up a fight with Vera later in the year.
“I used to call ‘Chito’ a journeyman, but that was before he beat all those good guys. I didn’t think ‘Chito’ was going to get as good as he did, but he’s gotten good. He’s gotten really good,” O’Malley said on his YouTube show.
“I hope he beats Cory, Aljo (Aljamain Sterling) beats Henry. Aljo moves up to 145. Me versus ‘Chito,’ July. A massive fight for the belt, or Aljo beats Henry. Comes back. I sleep Aljo like Marlon Moraes did, and then I beat up ‘Chito.’ Either way, it doesn’t matter to me as long as ‘Chito’ gets the job done.”
So it’s clear that nothing is set in stone yet with regards to who gets the next bantamweight title shot, with each fighter having their own agenda, though ultimately it’s out of their hands as it’s down to the UFC brass to decide what’s going to happen, and hopefully they’ll do so sooner rather than later to bring some clarity to the situation.