Aljamain Sterling reacts to Sean O’Malley’s “ridiculous” callout of Ilia Topuria at UFC 299

By Susan Cox - March 12, 2024

Aljamain Sterling has shared his thoughts on Sean O’Malley’s ‘ridiculous’ callout of Ilia Topuria at UFC 299.

Aljamain Sterling

Bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley (18-1 MMA), in his first title defense this past Saturday, March 9th at UFC 299, defeated Marlon Vera (21-9 MMA) by unanimous decision, avenging the lone loss of his career.

‘Chito’and ‘Suga’ had originally met back in August of 2020 at UFC 252, where it was Vera defeating O’Malley by TKO.

Following the victory, in his post-fight interview, O’Malley called out the undefeated UFC featherweight champion Ilia Topuria (15-0 MMA).

Aljamain Sterling, speaking on his YouTube channel, took exception to that callout saying:

“The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way a little bit again – and you can call me salty about it, call me a hater, but I stick up for my boys and I hope you guys do, too – but he should have called out Merab and did the right thing. I think it’s kind of ridiculous of him to say, ‘Dana, get the jet to Spain.’”

Merbal Dvalishvili (17-4 MMA) and Aljamain Sterling (23-4 MMA) are training partners and longtime friends.

Continuing, ‘Funk Master’ said:

“Like, what are you talking about, dude? You defended the belt against a guy who wasn’t even ranked in the top five, they moved him up to the top five to make it look like he was better, like he fought a top-five opponent. How did ‘Chito’ move up in the rankings? Who did he beat to move up in the ranking?”

“I feel like there’s been another title fight, and I don’t want to say names. There’s been another title fight where a guy wanted to avenge his loss and the guy was ranked in the top 15, and he won. But it’s just one of those things where, ‘Yeah, you won, but it’d be nice to fight the guy who’s next in line.’”

Concluding the 34-year-old said (h/t MMAJunkie):

“So that’s the only thing that I feel a little bit awkward about, because I’m like, yeah you won, but you won against a guy that we were all expecting you to beat. So as a champion, it’s hard for me to put a lot of stock in that because I just can’t respect it as much.”

Do you agree with Sterling that O’Malley should be looking to fight the guy ‘who’s next in line’, that being ‘The Machine’?

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