Sean O’Malley is ready for Aljamain Sterling inside (and outside) of the Octagon at UFC 292.
The pair of Bantamweight stars are set to collide on Aug. 19, 2023, in Boston, Mass., with UFC gold on the line. The champion, Sterling, seeks a fourth consecutive title defense as he remains active and welcomes a patient challenger, O’Malley.
Sterling vs. O’Malley was booked almost immediately after Sterling’s last defense, a split decision win against Henry Cejudo, and the champion has since claimed to have been forced into the bout “against his will.”
“That sucks. It’s a s—ty position for him to be in,” O’Malley said at UFC 290. “I didn’t choose that. Like I said, he could have stayed the champ, moved up fought the winner of tonight potentially. But that’s a big pay-per-view for him. It’s probably going to double — at least double — what he just did against Henry so he’s making financial decisions right now. You don’t get to be in this game for too long, you don’t get opportunities to fight one of the biggest stars too often and he’s not passing it up.”
Sterling has been an active fighting champion after recovering from neck surgery that followed his crowning moment against Petr Yan in March 2021. However, “Funkmaster” has made it clear that he hasn’t been 100 percent going into his bouts, which is one of the reasons his Cejudo encounter was initially stalled.
For O’Malley, he views it all as excuses piling up ahead of the big showdown.
“He’s been very vocal, he’s got some kind of bicep injury or something,” O’Malley said. “He said that before the last fight against Henry. It’s a built-in excuse to say, ‘Oh, I got these injuries and I’m going into this fight,’ and I beat him, and he’s like, ‘Well, you guys already knew. I said I was injured, I didn’t want to fight.’
“Built-in excuse is what it sounds like,” he continued. “He’s going to make the fight. He’s going to get paid, he’s going to make it there. We’ll see how he shows up, but I do think he’s taking this fight very serious. I do think he looks at me as very dangerous. So, I expect the best Aljamain to show up.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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