Marlon “Chito” Vera is ready to run it back with newly-minted UFC champ Sean O’Malley — but this time with a belt on the line.
O’Malley won the UFC bantamweight belt on Saturday night, stopping Aljamain Sterling in the second round of their main event fight. O’Malley is 17-1, with that lone loss coming against Vera back in 2020.
Shortly after winning the belt, O’Malley made the callout.
“I said going into this fight, it only takes one mistake against me. I don’t even know if that was a mistake — I’m just that f*cking good,” O’Malley said from the octagon. “This is just the beginning of the ‘Suga’ era. I’m running this sh*t until 2035, baby. Did ‘Chito’ win? Was it boring? Probably. I’ll whoop Chito’s ass in December in Vegas at T-Mobile. Let’s f*cking go!”
Vera — who defeated Pedro Munhoz earlier in the night via unanimous decision — was quick to accept the challenge.
Merab Dvalishvili Should be Next for Sean O’Malley
Dvalishvili has earned the shot and is riding a nine-fight win streak in the UFC. He is good friends with Sterling and the two were not game to fight each other for the title. With O’Malley now at the top of the bantamweight mountain, Dvalishvili should be ready to roll.
Sandhagen made his opinion known on O’Malley wanting to fight Vera prior to his stunning victory against Sterling.
“That’s some weak sauce, man,” Sandhagen told reporters ahead of UFC 292. “You want to fight the guy that other people are beating? That kind of bothers me about the way O’Malley thinks a little bit.
“It’s not even just O’Malley. It’s the way that sometimes the sport is set up where it’s like take the easiest fight for the least amount of money. That’s going to ruin some stuff. Don’t you want to when you win the belt to say that you’re the actual best because you fought the best guys? That’s my approach.”
Sandhagen recently had surgery on a torn tricep in his last fight and likely wouldn’t be available anyway for O’Malley’s next scrap.
UFC Wants to Ride Momentum of Sean O’Malley’s Victory
O’Malley is already of the UFC’s biggest stars and that will only grow with a championship belt around his waist. And it appears that the UFC is all-in on the “Suga” era. After the fight, the UFC quickly fired out clips of O’Malley’s knockout on social media, something the organization rarely does for PPV events.
“O’Malley isn’t gonna be a star, he is a star,” UFC president Dana White said after the fight, referencing that the event broke the live gate record at TD Garden with over $7 million in sales.
If the UFC wants O’Malley’s title reign to last, Vera or Sandhagen would make more sense, with Dvalishvili looking downright unstoppable in recent fights.