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Sean O’Malley not interested in being back-up for Sterling vs. Cejudo: ‘F— that’

The date has officially passed where Sean O’Malley would be willing to step in for a title shot at UFC 288.

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The UFC has made a big deal of pulling in some top names to serve as back-ups for important fights. But they shouldn’t turn to Sean O’Malley if they’re hoping he’ll play that role for UFC 288’s Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo bantamweight title fight.

Colby Covington was the most recent backup for an event, and he was allegedly paid $25,000 to make weight for the Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3 fight at UFC 286. O’Malley didn’t mention the money being an issue. He just can’t focus in on a training camp properly if he doesn’t know he’ll be fighting for sure.

“I was really planning on being backup for Henry [Cejudo] - Aljo [Sterling],” he said on his YouTube channel. “Now we’re at the point where going and doing a camp, five fives, planning on a fight, it’s hard enough to do knowing you have a fight. But knowing you’re probably not going to fight?”

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“I can’t train the same way, and I don’t feel like I’m in a position where I’m like, ‘Well, it’s my only opportunity, I need to be a backup.’”

“I was trying,” O’Malley continued. “But now I’m to the point where I’m like, ‘F— that.’ If one of those dorks pull out, reschedule it. I need a real eight weeks where I know I’m fighting. And it’s just too hard to go be that disciplined. You can’t be that disciplined all the time. There’s a certain level of disciplined you can be in camp, that’s why you feel like a f—ing superhuman when you’re in there. Because of how disciplined you’ve lived the life the last eight weeks, whatever it is.

“But now we’re at a point where they’re five weeks out to the fight, if I got the call I’d be like, ‘I’m not ready to do five f—ing fives,’” O’Malley said. “I haven’t been doing every possible thing that I could be doing. So I’m pulling out from backup fighter. I never officially was. But breaking news.”

Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo goes down May 6th from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Sean O’Malley has already been tapped as next in line for a title shot, so is there even an advantage to him stepping into the role, burning himself out training for a title fight that doesn’t happen, and potentially injuring himself?

As much as we enjoy big name backups as fans, the risk / reward system doesn’t exactly make the most sense for fighters already on the verge of a title shot. What do you think, Maniacs? Who would you like to see in the backup spot for UFC 288?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 288 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 288: “Sterling vs. Cejudo” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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