While Sterling was defending his bantamweight belt in the UFC 280 co-main event, just before that O’Malley faced the man he took the belt from in Yan. The bout would ultimately turn out to be one of the most controversial in recent memory, with Suga’ Sean getting the nod on two of the three judge’s scorecards, against the opinion of many others.
Aljamain Sterling Gives Props To Sean O’Malley
After this controversial decision, several people were left questioning the validity and legitimacy of the win from Sean O’Malley, with some still feeling that Petr Yan is still the best bantamweight in the world in spite of being on a three-fight skid. While some were dismissive of Suga’ Sean after UFC 280, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has a different takeaway from the bout.
Speaking to the media at the post-fight press conference, Sterling, who has previously been critical of Suga’ Sean, said that he was looking to see O’Malley get tested, and that is exactly what happened. In fact, this gutsy performance from the highly touted prospect gave the champ reason to believe he belongs among the ever-growing list of elite bantamweights.
“My question mark for O’Malley was how tough is he? Like, he’s a hammer and he always looks good when he’s dribbling the ball and all that, but when someone can actually inflict a little pain on him, how is he gonna do? Yan is tough, he’s not gonna go away,” Sterling said.
“He had a great fight. That first round, it came down to the first round just like it did in my fight with Yan. It’s an interesting time in this bantamweight division. There’s so many options. I thought O’Malley did his thing, he looked good. I thought Yan did his thing, he looked good as well. It was a very competitive fight. O’Malley showed that he belongs, and I think he showed just how deep and stacked this division is.”
Aljamain Sterling makes a good point in that no matter how you scored Petr Yan vs Sean O’Malley, the latter proved that he is an elite fighter worth taking seriously. With so many deserving contenders atop the 135lb division, it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Did you gain more respect for Sean O’Malley after UFC 280?
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