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Morning Report: Aljamain Sterling ‘would bet my life savings’ against Sean O’Malley in rematch: ‘It was an off-night’

UFC 292 Ceremonial Weigh-in
Aljamain Sterling and Sean O’Malley
Photo by Paul Rutherford/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Aljamain Sterling believes things should have gone a lot differently in his final bantamweight bout.

We're currently in the "Sugar Show" era at 135 pounds. Bold and outspoken, the rainbow-haired superstar Sean O’Malley capitalized on his big moment at UFC 292 last August. The Helena, Montana, native patiently waited for his picture-perfect right-hand counter to connect and scored a second-round TKO over Sterling to claim the world title.

Each fighter has gone in different directions since then. O'Malley successfully defended his title via unanimous decision in his rematch with Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC 299 in March. One month later, Sterling returned to action for his featherweight debut and also earned a unanimous decision win when he battled Calvin Kattar. Sterling, 34, has been clear about not making excuses for the loss. However, the circumstances weren't ideal on his end, noting his quick turnaround from his Henry Cejudo fight the previous May.

“O’Malley showed up that night. It was an off-night for myself and the better man won that night,” Sterling told Kanpai Media. “That’s why we say, ‘Any place, anywhere, any time.’ Sometimes it’s your night, sometimes it’s not, and unfortunately for me, it just didn’t go my way.

“I do know if I had a rematch, and as long as he waited from August to fighting ‘Chito’ in March, give me that time to recover and prepare and to cut my weight the proper way. In a rematch, I would bet my life savings on that.”

The first round between Sterling and O'Malley was mostly a feeling-out process. Neither did much to solidify a clear advantage over the other. Regardless, Sterling felt like the approach was right for someone like O'Malley, and had he stuck to it rather than rushing into the eventual finish, he'd have found his way to title defense No. 4.

“People are gonna say I’m still salty,” Sterling said. “I’m like, yo, skills are skills. Facts are facts. If I sit there and chop the legs down the way I did in the first round, like, yeah, we could sit here and do this all day long, but I think overall, O’Malley’s getting better but I think I’m very good at what I do and he’s very good at what he does. I’m very good at not letting people do what they want to do.”

As Sterling looks to ascend the featherweight ranks, he'll watch over his old division while aiding his best friend and teammate Merab Dvalishvili. "The Machine" has arguably been the top bantamweight contender dating back to before Sterling lost the title. Ultimately, they both made it clear a fight between them was never going to happen.

Now that O'Malley's redemption against Vera has been completed, there appears to be nothing stopping Dvalishvili from challenging for gold.

“Now he gets to fight Merab and I’m happy for my friend to get a chance to become a world champion the same way I gave an opportunity of a lifetime for O’Malley even while I handicapped myself,” Sterling said. “Finally, he’s giving my boy a fair shake. Giving him a chance to realize a dream.”


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Nailed it.

Ball is life.


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Considering the adjustments Sterling made between his two Petr Yan fights, along with the weight, I’d certainly see him doing better than he did the first time he fought O’Malley. That’s not to say he’d win, though.

Thanks for reading!



Would you give Aljamain Sterling a better or worse chance of beating Sean O’Malley in a rematch at featherweight?

  • 55%
    (235 votes)
  • 15%
    (68 votes)
  • 28%
    Equal to the first fight
    (123 votes)
426 votes total Vote Now

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