Dana White has reaffirmed that Aljamain Sterling will defend his bantamweight title against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292.
Last week, the bout was announced as the main event of the Boston card. Shortly after, Sterling made comments suggesting he would need more time after his UFC 288 win over Henry Cejudo to prepare. Not only did White confirm the fight will happen, but had to do so because Cejudo offered to step in versus O’Malley.
“Henry Cejudo calls me and says, ‘This little p*ssy doesn’t want to fight, I’ll take the fight. I’m throwing my hat in right now. Let’s do it, I’ll fight O’Malley.’”
White would clarify that the UFC spoke to Sterling’s management to confirm the fight. Musing amongst the media at the UFC Vegas 73 post-fight presser, White believes Sterling “is just one of those guys who can’t get out of his own way.”
O’Malley is Sterling’s #1 contender. Should Sterling ultimately fail to make the UFC 292 card, it’s likely O’Malley could be matched against Cejudo or another ranked contender for the interim title.
O’Malley’s coach praises Aljamain Sterling ahead of UFC 292 clash
The difficult task ahead of O’Malley isn’t lost on his coach, Tim Welch. Welch spoke to ESPN about how good of a fighter Sterling is. The bantamweight champion may not be have the respect of UFC fans, but his body of work and skill cannot be ignored.
“He’s just so athletic, he’s long, he’s strong. He’s not just a good wrestler; he’s a good wrestler with good jiu-jitsu, and he’s very funky. He switches stance, throws spazzy things at you. He’s good at chaining his wrestling together. He’s the most dangerous bantamweight there’s ever been in my opinion.”
Despite the praise, Welch is confident his charge will be ready for whatever Sterling throws at him.
“If anybody’s going to [beat Sterling], it’s ‘Suga.’ His whole career, the game plan against Sean has been to put him on the fence and take him down. His whole career has been that way.”
UFC 292 takes place on August 13, 2023 at the TD Ameritrade Center in Boston.