Aljamain Sterling eager to expose Sean O’Malley’s kryptonite in August clash: “One time on his back, he was like a fish on land”

By Josh Evanoff - May 15, 2023

UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling believes he knows Sean O’Malley’s kryptonite.

‘The Funk Master’ returned to the cage earlier this month against Henry Cejudo. In the main event of UFC 288, Sterling scored a split-decision victory over the former champion. In the process, Sterling scored his third-straight title defense, a record for the weight class.

Following the victory, the bantamweight champion had a face-off with ‘Sugar’. O’Malley has been out of action since defeating Petr Yan by a split decision in a title eliminator matchup last October. In the octagon, Sterling and his newest challenger exchanged words and insults, with Merab Dvalishvili also getting in the action.

On The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Aljamain Sterling discussed his planned return in August. The titleholder noted that he wasn’t a huge fan of the quick turnaround. However, considering that he knows O’Malley’s weakness, it makes the short-notice fight a bit easier to stomach.

The bantamweight champion opined that O’Malley’s grappling and takedown defense was his kryptonite. Sterling referenced his next opponent’s loss to Marlon Vera in 2020, when ‘Chito’ scored a first-round stoppage victory as proof.

Aljamain Sterling

Aljamain Sterling previews August clash against Sean O’Malley

“I mean what is this guy going to do to me? Really?” Aljamain Sterling stated on The MMA Hour. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful. It’s a subtle jab but it’s the truth. I mean it’s a fight, anything can happen but at the end of the day, I think we all know what his kryptonite is. He’s unproven in the octagon, the one time he was on his back he looked like a fish on land. ‘Chito’ smashed him and sent him home.”

He continued, “I think ‘Chito’ might’ve hit him once and his eyes rolled to the back of his head. That’s not a good sign… I think if I hit him squarely, take him down, that fight is as good as over in one… But what are people going to say after I beat this guy now? I think people are going to start realizing that I am as good as I say I am.”

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Aljamain Sterling Sean O'Malley