If Hollywood ever makes a movie about the man who lost his head and replaced it with a parsnip, I’m confident that No. 2-ranked UFC bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley would be a worthy candidate for the leading role.
That’s based on the recent comments from reigning 135-pound champion Aljamain Sterling, who is expected to fight “Suga” at some point later this year after turning away former division kingpin Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 in Newark.
Just don’t expect to see a second round.
“To drag a guy like O’Malley down ... I mean, what’s this guy gonna do to me?” Sterling said on The MMA Hour. “Really — and I’m not trying to be disrespectful. It’s a subtle jab, but it’s the truth. It’s a fight, anything can happen, but at the end of the day, I think we all know what his kryptonite is. We’ve seen him one time on his back and it was like a fish out on land. ‘Chito’ smashed him and sent him home. I think ‘Chito’ might have hit him one time and his eyes rolled back in the back of his head. That’s not a good sign. And he’s got a tiny head. He’s tall ... he talks about my weight, but he’s skinny. He’s a twig, he’s got a really tiny head — I got a really tiny head too — he got hit one time and he was out. It lets me have a little more confidence. I don’t think you can develop a chin over time. If I hit him squarely, take him down, that fight’s as good as over, probably in one (round).”
O’Malley was stopped by Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC 252 back in summer 2020.
Sterling (23-3) is the winner of nine straight with four of those victories coming in championship title fights. As for O’Malley (16-1, 1 NC), he rebounded from his Vera loss to win four of his next five with one controversial No Contest.
The promotion has yet to set a date for Sterling vs. O’Malley but the champ is targeting a September return, health permitting. The victor could move on to face the winner of Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo, if UFC can get that fight signed.