Marlon Vera believes Sean O’Malley deserves the next title shot against Aljamain Sterling despite being “gifted” decision win over Petr Yan

By Susan Cox - October 26, 2022

Marlon Vera believes that Sean O’Malley deserves the next title shot against Aljamain Sterling.

Sean O'Malley, Marlon Vera

While Vera acknowledges the hard fought bantamweight battle between Petr Yan (16-4 MMA) and Sean O’Malley (16-1 MMA) last Saturday night at UFC 280, he doesn’t believe ‘Sugar‘ won the fight. Many fans and fighters alike agree with Vera on that count. Marlon Vera does however believe that O’Malley has garnered a shot at a title fight.

Speaking on ‘The MMA Hour’, Vera had this to say about the O’Malley vs Yan fight at UFC 280 (h/t MMAFighting):

“A lot of people had 3-0 to Yan. I had 2-1 to Yan. The body language of O’Malley was a body language of, ‘I lost the fight.’ Then when they gave it to him, I thought it was a gift decision, but again, f**k it. The guy won the fight. Now he’s going to have a No. 1 next his name I guess, but I believe it was a gift. I believe he got the decision gifted, but we’ll see what happens with that. It was a close fight. Both guys hurt each other, and I think everything comes down to the takedowns and the control time.”

It was Marlon Vera (20-7 MMA) who handed O’Malley his first and only loss at UFC 252 in August of 2020.

Continuing Vera spoke about O’Malley and his strengths within the cage saying:

“For all the people that say he sucks and he’s all talk, I never thought that. I always said before, the guy can fight, the guy is talented, the guy has tools. I think he’s the only one actually surprised that he can prove himself to everybody, because I actually think he can fight. I think he has power in his hands. He’s kind of a snake, but so are the rest of the division, so are the rest of the top 15. At that level, anybody can hang with anybody.”

“The level of there is pretty much the same. It’s who prepared better, who did enough reps, who put more time into it, and who can stay longer and didn’t catch up. So the guy can fight, but so can the rest of the whole division.”

It was Sean O’Malley’s biggest win of his career and before the bout, O’Malley and Dana White both indicated a win would give him a shot at the title next. But post fight it was UFC President Dana White suggesting former champion Henry Cejudo (16-2 MMA) may be next in line instead.

Vera had his own opinion on who should get that title shot saying:

“As a fight fan, anybody who beat the No. 1 contender should fight for the belt, right? That’s obvious. O’Malley, it doesn’t matter what ranking he is, he beat No. 1, he should fight for the belt. But, the whole everybody thinks that was a gifted decision, everybody thinks he got a pass on that one, that can probably hurt what the UFC will do with him.”

“It’s the same thing that happened with the Song Yadong fight. I got robbed, they gave me the O’Malley fight, then they gave me the (Jose) Aldo fight. I advanced after a loss. So O’Malley got the decision gifted, maybe they do the same thing, they probably hold him a little bit, make somebody else do it. But we’ll see. Again, that’s up Dana and the UFC. We’ll see what they want to do.”

When asked who deserves the next title shot, should O’Malley indeed get skipped over, Vera had this to say:

“I’m a selfish prick so I will say myself. Maybe (I will get it). I said it before this fight, that decision is up to Dana White and the UFC. We can say whatever we want, I can go crazy, I can waste all my energy, but that’s up to the UFC. They’re the ones that will decide that. They’re the ones that will pick the next title contender. I’m ready though. If they call me, I’ll happily do it. If they call me for a No. 1 contender, I’ll also happily do it.”

Concluding Vera finished with:

“I’m not tripping. I’m in great spirits. I’m just going to keep getting better. I’m using all this time to continue to improve, keep working, and by the time they call me, I’ll be ready to put on another performance, put another man out. I’m not chasing nothing. I’m not going after anything. The main goal is the belt, but in order to get the belt you’ve got to win, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Marlon Vera last fought in August of this year where he defeated Dominick Cruz (24-4 MMA) by knockout.

Do you agree with Vera’s comments and believe Sean O’Malley deserves a title shot?

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Marlon Vera Sean O'Malley UFC