Sean O'Malley was able to dethrone Aljamain Sterling and claim the bantamweight title with a second-round TKO victory at UFC 292. 'Sugar' recently downplayed his interest in facing Merab Dvalishvili, who is a teammate and close friends with 'Funk Master', claiming he knocked both fighters out in last month's title bout.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour, the bantamweight champion stated:
"I knocked out Merab August 19th, the same night I knocked out Aljo. They're the same, they hold hands, they're the same person. I knocked them both out August 19th. We'll see what happens. I've called out the [Marlon] 'Chito' [Vera] fight before me versus Aljo, before Pedro [Munhoz] versus 'Chito'."
Check out Sean O'Malley's comments on knocking out Merab Dvalishvili and Aljamain Sterling below:
Dvalishvili caught wind of O'Malley's comments and responded to the post from MMAFighting, stating:
"This all makes no sense Champ ... say what you want to say .. I am next in line. I'm ready ... are you ?"
Check out Merab Dvalishvili's response below:
O'Malley has been adamant about his desire to face Marlon 'Chito' Vera, who handed him the only loss of his professional mixed martial arts career at UFC 252, in his first title defense. Meanwhile, Dvalishvili has claimed that, if Sterling does not get a rematch, there is no bantamweight more deserving of a title shot than himself. While 'Sugar' has expressed an interest in fighting at UFC 296 in December, it is unclear if the event will mark his return to the octagon.
Sean O'Malley claims that he lost to Marlon 'Chito' Vera 'on purpose'
The only loss of Sean O'Malley's mixed martial arts career came against Marlon 'Chito' Vera via first-round TKO at UFC 252. While he had previously failed to acknowledge the loss, he recently claimed that he purposely lost the bout during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. After reiterating his desire to face the No.6-ranked bantamweight in his first title defense, claiming that it is the biggest fight, 'Sugar' was asked if the bout is personal, responding:
"Not at all. I never lost sleep over this fight. I've actually been playing chess for a long time. I lost that fight on purpose just so that I could go out there and knock out Aljo and have that be my biggest fight. Rematch."
Check out Sean O'Malley's comments on Marlon 'Chito' Vera below:
While there have been questions as to whether or not 'Chito' is the bantamweight that is most deserving of a title opportunity, O'Malley appears intent on booking the bout. It is unclear which direction the UFC will head, however, as nothing has been made official.