O’Malley had previously offered to help corner Yan at UFC 273 after members of Yan’s corner couldn’t make the trip due to visa issues. However, O’Malley turned it down a week before the fight.
Yan and Sterling went toe-to-toe at UFC 273, but it was a much different fight than their first matchup at UFC 259. Sterling had a lot of success with his wrestling and was able to keep up with Yan’s pace on the feet.
Sterling earned the split decision win, but some feel that Yan was robbed of the decision. During a recent segment of his podcast, he took the blame for Yan’s close loss.
“Yan’s takedown defense, other than the two times he got his back taken, is so elite. The hips, hand on the head, he’s got some sick takedown defense,” O’Malley said. “But he fought so emotional from the beginning of the fight. So emotional.
“Those looping punches… he fought super emotional. I should have been in his corner and told him, ‘Yo, Petr, settle down bud.’ I’ll take that L. That was my fault.” (h/t MiddleEasy)
It was a long road for Yan to his rematch with Sterling, after their first matchup at UFC 259 ended via disqualification after Yan threw an illegal knee. After they were originally supposed to fight at UFC 267, Sterling withdrew and Yan defeated short-notice replacement Cory Sandhagen for the interim title.
Yan earned the then-vacant bantamweight title over José Aldo at UFC 251 via fifth-round TKO. He also earned wins over the likes of John Dodson and Uriah Faber in his pursuit of the belt.
O’Malley and Yan have hinted at a future matchup, and they may be on track to fight sooner rather than later. If Yan needs a cornerman to fill in the future, it wouldn’t be surprising to see O’Malley volunteer once again.