Following a controversial win at UFC 280 over Petr Yan last month (Oct. 22, 2022) in Abu Dhabi, Sean O’Malley has found himself in the top spot of the Bantamweight rankings: No. 1 above all others, with just champion Aljamain Sterling above him. And with Sterling intent on taking a nice vacation before defending his 135-pound title, O’Malley is now in the process of attempting to matchmake himself into an interim title fight.
There are two obvious options if UFC wants to go that route: O’Malley versus Marlon “Chito” Vera — who holds a win over “Suga” — or O’Malley versus former two-division Olympic gold medalist, Henry Cejudo. Unsurprisingly, O’Malley is more interested in the Vera rematch.
And it’s not just a stylistic decision — O’Malley also believes Cejudo’s drawing power is on par with a soggy coffee cup.
“Me versus ‘Chito’ is a lot bigger than me versus Henry,” O’Malley said on a new episode of his TimboSugarShow. “It’s weird, being all the accolades he has, he’s not a draw. And that’s the reason he left. He wasn’t getting paid what he ‘deserved,’ so he thought maybe he would leave and UFC would want him back ... and they didn’t, so now he kind of shot himself in the foot.”
“Me versus ‘Chito’ is a bigger fight,” he added. “Me versus Cory Sandhagen is a bigger fight. Me versus this coffee cup would probably be a little bit bigger fight. But yeah, I’m super curious where this division’s going to go.”
At this point, UFC hasn’t commented on Sterling’s declaration that he’d be taking some time off and coming back sometime in the middle of 2023. But, the organization probably is not too happy, given credible reports that it was hoping to book him against Henry Cejudo for UFC 284 in Feb. 2023. And while you may think that makes a Cejudo vs. O’Malley interim fight more likely, it’s quite possible that UFC sees the same dollar signs floating above O’Malley vs. Vera as “Suga” does.
While this doesn’t really feel like a situation where an interim title is warranted, you know how UFC likes having a lot of hardware at the top of its pay-per-view (PPV) events these days.
Are you interested in an interim bantamweight belt being thrown into play, Maniacs?