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"He deserved to finish" - Justin Gaethje, Daniel Cormier, Aljamain Sterling and others react to controversial ending of Sean O'Malley vs Kris Moutinho

Sean O'Malley vs. Kris Moutinho (left); Justin Gaethje (right)
Sean O'Malley vs. Kris Moutinho (left); Justin Gaethje (right)
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Bhavesh Purohit

UFC 264 couldn't have been any sweeter for 'Sugar' Sean O'Malley.

The 26-year-old bantamweight put on a striking masterclass in the event's main card opener against debutant Kris Moutinho. With just half a minute left for the fight to end, referee Herb Dean was forced to halt the contest with Moutinho still on his feet.

The UFC 264 broadcast team was critical of Dean's stoppage, justifying that Kris Moutinho deserved to compete throughout the fight.

No.2 ranked lightweight Justin Gaethje was quick to note that the referee should have allowed the fight to continue.

Daniel Cormier, who was part of the commentary team at UFC 264, suggested he would have "loved" to see Moutinho compete for the full three rounds opposite Sean O'Malley.

UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling was also shocked to see Dean put a stop to the exciting contest.

Veteran Jeremy Stephens also chimed in to show his support for Moutinho.

However, rising women's flyweight Tatiana Suarez begged to differ from her colleague's opinions. According to Suarez, Moutinho's career could have been at risk had Dean not stopped the fight. She also called the bout a "mismatch" based on skill sets.

Here's how some other UFC stars reacted to the controversial stoppage:

Sean O'Malley wants to fight Rob Font next

UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3
UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3

Following the fight, Sean O'Malley called out Rob Font, currently ranked No.3 in the bantamweight division.

Earning a fight opposite Font might be a long shot for O'Malley, who is yet to break into the divisional rankings. However, that didn't stop 'Sugar' from calling out the biggest names of his division.

"Cody Garbrandt hasn’t won a fight since 2012. Petr Yan is petrified. Dominick Cruz is ducking me. Rob Font where you at?" said O'Malley.

O'Malley made sure to give props to Kris Moutinho as well.

"Kris (Moutinho) is a tough mot*******er!" O'Malley said.

When asked if he was surprised with Herb Dean's decision to stop the fight, Sean O'Malley said:

"I was and I wasn't. That’s a lot of head damage. He might not think that was a good stoppage but that might have saved him a couple of years on his life. I was about to put him out for good."

Edited by Avinash Tewari
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