Ilia Topuria rejects challenge from UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley

By Cole Shelton - March 10, 2024

Ilia Topuria isn’t interested in fighting Sean O’Malley next.

Ilia Topuria and Sean O'Malley

O’Malley defended his bantamweight title for the first time on Saturday night with a masterful performance against Marlon Vera. It was a one-sided fight as O’Malley won all five rounds to defend his title with ease.

Following the win, in his post-fight interview, Sean O’Malley was asked by Joe Rogan who he wanted next when he called for a fight with featherweight champ Ilia Topuria.

“Dana, get me a jet to Spain, baby, I’m coming for Ilia Topuria,” O’Malley said after his win.

It isn’t a surprise that Sean O’Malley called out Ilia Topuria as he has talked about wanting that fight even before the Spaniard became the featherweight champion. However, before UFC 299, ‘Suga’ did change his tune as he said he would fight Merab Dvalishvili first.

“Boys, just watched Henry vs. Merab for the first time, re-watched it on the TV, and here are my thoughts. Well, let me start with this, initially, I was calling for Ilia, I wanted the Ilia fight, I wanted that fight, it excites me but I also thought the fans would get excited about it. I got a lot of pushback saying I got a lot of pushback saying you are ducking Merab, Merab is next. So, Merab’s next, let’s do Merab. I’m telling you guys, I knock Merab out,” Sean O’Malley said in a video posted on his YouTube.

Despite Sean O’Malley originally saying he would fight Merab Dvalishvili next he did call out Ilia Topuria, but the UFC featherweight champion took to social media to turn down the fight.

“Suga, congrats.. Was a beautiful performance! There is a fight chasing you with Merab.. Get that done first,” Topuria wrote in response to O’Malley.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Ilia Topuria is telling Sean O’Malley to fight Merab Dvalishvili next due to the fact that both men have Georgian heritage. So, Topuria is rooting for his fellow countryman to get a title shot against O’Malley next time out.

Although Ilia Topuria did shut down the fight next, if both he and Sean O’Malley can remain champions for a while it does seem likely that the two will share the Octagon in the future.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Ilia Topuria Sean O'Malley UFC