The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently returned to Boston with an unforgettable main event that left the reigning bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, vanquished. Following his defeat at the hands of the new Bantamweight Champion, Sean O’Malley, Sterling took to social media to share his thoughts. He lost to O’Malley in a second-round technical knockout at UFC 292.
This all still feels like a bad, bad dream. Unfortunately, it’s not. This sport is really something…. I’m just gonna let it fuel me. I’ll be back 💪🏾 https://t.co/DgpNcuZVww
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) August 21, 2023
The former bantamweight champion promised to return to UFC with new vigor in a heartfelt tweet. “It still feels like a bad dream. But it is real. This sport, it is something. I’ll use it as a fuel. I’ll return,” Sterling said. The former champion’s emotions reflect the roller-coaster fighters ride in the octagon.
Volkanovski denies an Aljamain Sterling matchup
Sterling aimed for his fourth straight title defense in the main event. His plan was clear: shift to the featherweight division and clear the way for his teammate and top contender, Merab Dvalishvili, to chase the title. An O’Malley victory could have set up a clash between Sterling and featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski. But O’Malley’s mighty right hand and hammer fists shattered those hopes.
Volkanovski, high in pound-for-pound rankings, knew of Sterling’s aspirations to challenge him. However, following O’Malley’s victory, Volkanovski went on YouTube announcing that Sterling’s challenge may not happen shortly. He did acknowledge that Sterling may wish for a rematch. He also praised O’Malley’s control of distance and movement, crediting him for a remarkable win.
What comes next for Aljamain Sterling?
On Saturday night, UFC’s bantamweight division got a rosy glow in Boston. Gen Z striker Sean O’Malley, with his striking cotton candy hair and face tattoos, knocked out Aljamain Sterling to win the UFC bantamweight title, ushering in a new era for the weight division.
This win signals the beginning of the “Suga” era under O’Malley’s influence. Despite his defeat, Sterling’s post-fight announcement signaling a shift to the featherweight category shows a strategic change in his fight path. At 34 years old, his history in bantamweight suggests it might be the right time for this transition.
There were talks of Aljamain Sterling possibly moving up to 145 and challenging Alex Volkanovski for the Featherweight title.
After last night, there’s no doubt that Ilia Topuria will be Volkanovski’a next challenger. pic.twitter.com/QpZr9jtSps
— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) August 20, 2023
His wrestling skills could add a unique dimension to matches against competitors like Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez, Brian Ortega, Arnold Allen, and Ilia Topuria. With his bantamweight journey ending, Sterling’s venture into a different weight class promises an exciting new phase in his fighting career.
Sean O’Malley’s breakthrough and Sterling’s defeat highlight the unpredictable landscape of UFC and MMA sport. As fans wait eagerly to see how Sterling returns from his loss, O’Malley’s victory has strengthened his presence in the UFC.