Aljamain Sterling is willing to face Sean O’Malley quickly because he knows O’Malley’s weakness

Aljamain Sterling, the current bantamweight champion, is uncertain whether he can compete in his next title defense on short notice. Following his split decision victory against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288, Sterling faced off with the No. 1 contender, Sean O’Malley, in the octagon, setting the stage for their highly anticipated fight later in the year.

UFC President Dana White confirmed that O’Malley would be Sterling’s next opponent and speculated that their match might take place at UFC 292 in Boston in August. Although Sterling is aware that the timeline is very tight, he is open to the idea if his body is up for it.

Sterling mentioned that the only other fighter with a faster turnaround time was Volkanovski, who fought four and a half months after the Abu Dhabi card. Sterling acknowledged that the quick turnaround is not ideal, but as an athlete and prizefighter, the competition and prize motivate him.

Sterling’s feet are swollen, and he needs to get a few X-rays done following his fight with Cejudo. He crushed his legs on Cejudo, but he’s proud of the victory wounds. If the fight goes ahead in August, it would be the second-shortest turnaround for Sterling in his UFC career, which poses some risk for the champion. However, Sterling has two main factors in his decision to accept the fight: the opportunity to earn a substantial payday and the manageable risk against O’Malley.

Although O’Malley is currently ranked third in the bantamweight division after defeating Petr Yan in October, he hasn’t had the sustained success of some of the other fighters in the league. Sterling stated that if the situation were different, such as facing Cejudo on short notice, he would not have accepted the fight. He also mentioned that he has some nagging injuries stemming from his fight with Cejudo, such as ongoing trouble with his bicep, but he remains committed to the fight.

Sterling emphasized that fighting O’Malley is a massive opportunity that could change his life. Winning the fight and adding another notch to his belt would be a critical step in his journey towards greatness. Sterling is eyeing a future fight against either Yair Rodriguez or Alexander Volkanovski as his last fight at bantamweight.


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