Top ranked UFC bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley is in line for a title bout in his next outing, but he thinks there’s a bigger matchup to make in the division.
O’Mally (16-1, 1 NC) rose from the 11th ranking up to the No. 1 contender slot following his UFC 276 split decision win over former champion Petr Yan. Leading up to the match, UFC president Dana White indicated that the winner would get the next title shot against champion Aljamain Sterling.
O’Malley may very well be in a championship match the next time he steps inside the octagon, but “Sugar” doesn’t think a bout against Sterling is the biggest fight in the division. He believes a rematch with No. 4 ranked Marlon Vera would be a ‘massive fight.’
Vera handed O’Malley his first and only career loss at UFC 252 in August 2020. Vera finished O’Malley with strikes late in the first round after O’Malley suffered a foot injury.
“I’ve been saying it since a couple of days after that fight,” O’Malley said during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “It’ll happen when it’s ready. It’s going to be a massive fight. It’s going to be a big fight. Me versus ‘Chito’ is the biggest fight in the division right now.”
“I’d say me versus ‘Chito’ is a bigger fight than me versus ‘Aljo’ as far as numbers-wise,” continued O’Malley. “I think that’s a massive fight that’s going to happen in 2023, 2024. I can’t imagine it not happening next year at some point.”