Former UFC featherweight champion and current bantamweight José Aldo doesn’t see any issue in Sean O’Malley sharing the Octagon with the 135-pound division’s top contender.
Last month, O’Malley made a disappointing visit to Las Vegas during International Fight Week, with his goal of breaking into the top 10 diminishing as a result of an accidental eye poke during his UFC 276 main card opener versus Pedro Munhoz.
But despite still being sat at #13 on the ladder and having not added a ranked name to his record’s win column yet, O’Malley has been lined up for a step up in competition akin to the usual aftermath of impressive victories.
The announcement took many by surprise, with the likes of Michal Bisping suggesting that a rematch with Munhoz was the natural next step for O’Malley.
Whilst some have since welcomed the matchup, noting that it will truly determine the ceiling for the rising star, others have suggested that the Montana native hasn’t yet earned the opportunity to perhaps secure a title shot.
Now, another of the division’s contenders looking to secure a championship opportunity next time out has backed the promotion’s decision to ascend “Sugar” towards the top.
Aldo: O’Malley/Yan Will Be A “Great Fight”
This weekend at UFC 278, José Aldo will look to stake his claim to a shot at the bantamweight gold, currently held by Aljamain Sterling, by adding the name of the champ’s teammate Merab Dvalishvili to his impressive win streak.
Should O’Malley upset the odds two months later, “Junior” may still get the nod, with the American previously saying that he’d allow the Brazilian legend the place above him in the queue. Perhaps the knowledge that O’Malley won’t be taking a title shot away from him is what’s led Aldo to support the booking versus Yan.
During media day on Wednesday ahead of the Utah-held pay-per-view, Aldo suggested that there’s no issue with O’Malley being paired with the #1-ranked contender, pointing towards the surging star’s good form.
“I don’t see a problem at all. First of all, he’s actually going through a very good phase,” Aldo said. “And also, every fighter has the right to fight for a championship. And that’s what you (should) want. You want to be a champion. So obviously, there were other callouts in there, but I mean, they got him there, so why not (fight)? And I think it’s gonna be a great fight.”
Whether members of the MMA community share the same sentiment as Aldo or not, it stands to reason that most will be tuning in to see how O’Malley fares against his toughest test to date.
Do you agree with José Aldo’s take on Sean O’Malley vs. Petr Yan?