The UFC made it clear that Sean O’Malley would be the next challenger for Aljamain Sterling’s bantamweight title after allowing him to enter the Octagon to go face-to-face with him after his split-decision win over Henry Cejudo at UFC 288.
So it now appears to be just a question of when and where the title clash will take place, and Dana White appears to have a plan, but Sterling isn’t yet on-board with it.
“[Sean O’Malley] is next,” White confirmed at the post-fight presser. “Probably in August.”
That suggests it will go down at UFC 292, with White suggesting that Boston would be the likely landing spot.
However, upon hearing that Sterling seemed less than happy, indicating that his preference was to fight in Las Vegas in September instead.
“That is news to me,” Sterling told TSN Sports. “I don’t want to go to Boston. Dana, I’ve been trying to fight at the T-Mobile Arena [in Las Vegas, Nevada] for God knows how long. Can we fight in Vegas? I want to fight in Vegas. I want to fight in Vegas where it’s nice and hot, go to a pool party. Boston’s cool, but I want to go back to the West Coast.
“And [Sean O’Malley] is going to be a favorite. He’ll probably be a favorite over there. I know there’s a big Irish crowd over there. Whatever, it is what it is.”
Sterling went on to reveal that he’d actually like to get two more fights in before the year is out if all goes well.
“I’m just looking towards the future, keeping my body healthy, and do as best as I can to stay consistent,” Sterling said. “I would like to fight in September, then fight again in December. People think I just want to sit on the sidelines. I only get paid when I fight! So, guys, I don’t want to sit on the sidelines, I want to be active.”
And Sterling appears to be very confident that he’ll come out on top against O’Malley whenever they do fight, and he thinks a finish might come sooner rather than later.
“My thoughts on Sean O’Malley is that motherf—ker is frail. Frail. You think if I could take down a short, stocky guy like Henry, who’s actually a gold medalist and has good takedown defense, what am I going to do to Sean O’Malley? Let’s be honest here, guys. Yeah, he’s been promised a title shot. He opted not to take the title shot and gave Henry a chance to come back and chase history. I beat Henry. Now there’s no more running.
“You either want to swim with the big boys or you don’t. If not, get the f—k out of the pool or go up a weight class or some s—t. Don’t keep sitting around here, talking, barking and not saddling up and taking the opportunities that are given. This is what the sport is all about. You take the opportunities that are given to you. I guarantee you, we step in there, I think I fold that man in half in one round.”