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Sean O’Malley calls for interim title fight with Marlon Vera after Aljamain Sterling reveals he’ll be out until June: “I’m ready to go in March”

UFC bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley has pitched an idea for his return.

‘Sugar’ is fresh off his showdown with Petr Yan last month in Abu Dhabi. The pair had a back-and-forth fight, however, many believed ‘No Mercy’ did much of the better work. Despite that, O’Malley won on the cards by a controversial split decision.

Also on UFC 280, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling made his return to defeat T.J. Dillashaw by TKO. Prior to the event, Dana White revealed that the winners of the bantamweight clashes would likely fight next. Following the pay-per-view, he changed his mind.

At the post-event press conference, White stated that Henry Cejudo, not O’Malley, would receive the next title shot. Reports quickly stated that the bantamweight title fight was being eyed for February in Australia. However, Sterling quickly shot down that idea and stated that he wouldn’t return until next June.

Following that announcement, ‘Triple C’ called for an interim title fight with Sean O’Malley. For his part, the latter likes the idea of an interim championship clash, but not with Cejudo. He would rather fight Marlon Vera, as he revealed on his YouTube channel.

Sean O'Malley

“It’s so hard to say, everyone’s different. I get it, Aljo cuts a lot of weight,” O’Malley stated. “He’s probably already back up to 165-170, he’s probably like, ‘I don’t want to cut weight again in the next couple of months, I want to enjoy it.’ But if you do think… he wants to wait eight months. I get it, I do, but say the No. 1 contender, ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley is ready to go in March, and the next guy in line, in my opinion, should be [Marlon] ‘Chito’ Vera. He just beat Dominick Cruz, beat Frankie Edgar, beat some good guys. Why not have a little interim belt and then the winner of the interim belt fight Aljo when he’s ready?” (h/t MMAFighting)

He continued, “I went through a war and I’m ready to go in March. I didn’t have a five-round training camp, but I wouldn’t have trained much different… It’s hard to say. I can’t say anything until I talk to the UFC first, because ultimately, it’s not necessarily what I want, what Aljo wants — they have a plan. They know what they want to do.”

The pair famously fought at UFC 252 in August 2020, where ‘Chito’ won by first-round TKO. There’s little doubt a rematch is one of the biggest possible matchups in the 135-pound division.

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