Sean O’Malley was always considered a top bantamweight prospect in the UFC, but one has to admit that he was not the favorite when he walked inside the Octagon at UFC 292 to challenge the champion Aljamain Sterling. However, ‘Sugar‘ surprised everyone when he defeated the reigning bantamweight champion by TKO in the second round.
Ever since O’Malley claimed his belt, there have been debates about the stoppage by the referee. While some claim that it was done at the right time as the Funkmaster had taken enough damage already, others are of the opinion that because it was a title fight and a lot was at stake, the referee could have waited for some more seconds to see if Aljo could retaliate against the brutal attack by Sean O’Malley.
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Days after the fight, Sterling himself has reacted to his loss, posting a video on his Instagram criticizing the early stoppage by the referee, Marc Goddard. Sterling wrote, “Although I don’t agree with the point of stoppage in my fight, I’m more upset with myself for having a lapse of judgment and putting myself in that sequence to begin with.
He further talked about the co-main event of the night, where strawweight champion Zhang Weili defended her title against Amanda Lemos. Throughout the fight, Weili bashed her opponent and secured one of the most dominant victories. So, seeing the fight from the backroom, Sterling assumed that he would also be given a chance to fight through things, but to his surprise, nothing of that sort happened, and we got a new champion in the form of Sean O’Malley.
Aljamain Sterling targets a 2024 rematch with Sean O’Malley
Close fights, especially close title fights, often make way for rematches that sell very well. So, a rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Sean O’Malley completely makes sense, and fans will also like to watch the two top bantamweights clash once again. But the timing of the rematch depends on a lot of factors.
While Sean O’Malley has expressed his desire to make his first title defense against old rival Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera, the Funkmaster wants the rematch but not this year. The former champion wants to rest for the remainder of the year and is looking to get his title back in 2024.
Sterling, in a video on his YouTube channel, also delved into the fight with O’Malley and accepted that he got outclassed by his opponent’s elite knockout power. He also found positives in the fight, as he mentioned that he did great in the first round and might have won it.
However, all of it does not matter now, as it took one strong right hand from O’Malley to drop Sterling on the canvas and then some brutal hammer fists followed that made sure that ‘The Suga Show’ has officially arrived. What do you make of the stoppage by the referee? Let us know in the comments!