Sean O’Malley is destined for an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title fight.
The rising Bantamweight superstar continued his winning ways at UFC 280 this past month (Oct. 22, 2022) with his biggest victory yet. O’Malley went to war with the former divisional champion, Petr Yan, earning a hard-fought split decision (watch highlights). The win launched O’Malley up to No. 1 contender status in the promotion’s official rankings, seeming to guarantee him the next title shot.
Today (Mon. Nov. 21, 2022), O’Malley confirmed to ESPN that UFC President, Dana White, and matchmaker, Sean Shelby, informed him that his next fight will be for the Bantamweight title.
“I know my next fight is for the title,” O’Malley said. “I’m the biggest fight — obviously. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out; anybody I fight is gonna be the biggest fight in the division. I don’t know what to tell him.”
Despite the solidification of his next bout being for gold, O’Malley can’t say whether or not that means he’ll be the next challenger to the current champion, Aljamain Sterling. The other most likely possibility currently floating around is the return of former dual-division UFC titlist, Henry Cejudo.
Assuming Cejudo fights Sterling before O’Malley, “Suga” admits he’d like to challenge “Triple C” over the “Funk Master.”
“It’s a better win, beating the two-time world champ, two weight [classes], Olympic gold medalist,” O’Malley said. “If you’re just going off that, what win looks better? A win over ‘Aljo’ or a win over Henry? For me, a win over Henry looks better.”
O’Malley targets a July 2023 return to action, providing plenty of time for at least one Bantamweight title fight to take place before he gets his turn.