The next Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight title tilt appears to be decided.
Both parties between current champion, Aljamain Sterling, and former dual-division titleholder, Henry Cejudo, have claimed this week that they’re set to meet in early 2023. That leaves No. 1-ranked contender, Sean O’Malley, out of the equation.
“Suga” isn’t bothered to get passed over, however. O’Malley expects to challenge the winner of the title fight and will sit back and enjoy the show for what it is.
“Dude, god damn it,” O’Malley said on the TimboSugarShow. “Could you imagine how cringy those press conferences are gonna be? I’ve never watched a fight where it’s that cringy. But it’s so cringy it’s entertaining. I’ll still watch. I don’t think it’s gonna be the biggest pay-per-view (PPV), but it’s so cringy I’ll tune in to see who’s going to say something worse.”
O’Malley last fought at UFC 280 in Oct. 2022, securing his biggest win yet by earning a split decision against former champion, Petr Yan (watch highlights). Since early in the year, Cejudo has been making it clear that he’s intending on coming back with hopes of a title shot.
If something were to happen to either man ahead of the bout, O’Malley notes that he’d rather just wait until July than fight on short notice.
“This is what I think … Henry’s ready to go, I believe that,” O’Malley said. “I think Henry’s wanted the fight. It’s not whether he’s coming back or not, I think he’s coming back. ‘Aljo’ doesn’t want that fight is what I’m seeing. I don’t know if he doesn’t want that fight because he thinks it’s a tough match up or if he just doesn’t want that fight because he doesn’t want to get back into fight camp. I don’t know. It could be neither. I think it’s both, personally.”
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