At UFC 280, Sterling successfully defended his bantamweight title against T.J. Dillashaw, stopping the former champion in the second round. In the fight immediately before Sterling’s, O’Malley faced Yan in one of the most anticipated bouts of the event, taking home a split decision win that was quickly called by some, including Yan, a robbery. But after going back and rewatching the fight, Sterling says that’s nonsense.
“29-28, I gave it to O’Malley,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “That’s my personal opinion, my take. Don’t think that I’m running from Petr Yan, I think this fight was that close. Either of these guys I’d fight. It’s a tough fight, regardless, so it doesn’t matter. So if you think that I can fight O’Malley and it’s going to be that easy, it’s not. If you think I’m going to just run through him, I’m not. I could. I could but it doesn’t mean I’m definitely will...
“I know Petr was really pissed, but he leaves the fights really close sometimes, with his style. Sometimes you’ve got to be a little more definitive. Yeah, he’s defensively responsible in the sense of covering up to make sure he’s protected before he unloads and uncorks, but at the same time, I think his inactivity — and we see this here with [O’Malley], we saw that with myself — it kind of hurts him. Even his fights with John Dodson, his fight with Jimmie Rivera, sometimes he let’s himself get behind that eight ball a little bit too much, trying to land the perfect shot...
“It is what it is. Both guys brought it. It’s a great fight for myself, in terms of the financial factor. In terms of people tuning in to watch. I think O’Malley will help build the fight, I think Yan will help build the fight, no matter what. It’s a great fight no matter who won, and for anyone to call this a robbery, I think you’re a little bit biased. I don’t have a dog in the race. People are going to be like, ‘You just want the easier fight!’ That’s a crazy thing to say, because if you watch this, competitively, this was a tough fight.”
Controversial or not, O’Malley official won the bout, doing what many thought impossible and setting up a lucrative title defense for Sterling next. Except, UFC President Dana White already suggested Sterling would face Henry Cejudo next, and Sterling has refrained from calling for a specific opponent, leaving things up in the air. And according to the champ, that’s because for the moment, he’s more concerned with getting some time off than with picking a fight.
“I look forward to potentially fighting either Henry Cejudo, ‘Chito’ Vera, or even ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley,” Sterling said. “I think there’s a lot of great fights out there for me, and they’re ones that are going to be competitive. Giving a guy like O’Malley time to prep for me might be in his best interest versus mine, [but] I just really want the downtime. These training camps, they’re very, very difficult. To go through the fight and people to go, ‘You’re unscathed.’ Yes, you have a point, but I just fought in April, so why is it that I can’t enjoy some time after fighting in April, after 13 months of recovery and the s***-talk? Mentally, it takes a lot out of you. Yeah, I can say I don’t care all I want, but I do read the comments and it does get mentally draining. Not just the s***-talk, but the whole package...
“I just need some time to just be myself, get some other things done, some other ventures... I’ve got a bunch of different things that I have on the horizon that I want to dive into, but I can’t put focus or energy into it if I have one month off and then have to dive back into another vicious training camp. I don’t think you guys understand how hard I train. It’s not easy, guys. So yeah, my job is to fight, but at the same time I don’t want life to pass me by and then look back and I have nothing to show for it in the sense of business ventures or stuff like that. I don’t want to be stuck, as soon as I’m done, and step outside that door and be like, ‘Now what?’”
Sterling mentioned a number of things he wanted to dive into, including a rum company, a supplement company, and creating an energy bar for athletes, as well as just taking some time off to recover, citing small injuries suffered during the Dillashaw fight and camp. And since UFC 280 was Sterling’s second title defense of 2022, “The Funk Master” says that unless the UFC makes him an offer he can’t refuse, he’s not looking to step back into the cage until next summer.
“I haven’t even talked to the UFC, and I don’t have the desire, nor the motivation to go through another training camp like that...” Sterling said. “So if they were to try to entice me to come back sooner rather than later, it’s going to have to be worth my time, because I’d like to catch up on things that I haven’t had the moments to sit down and smell the roses for a bit. Two fights [in 2022]. People that think champions defend their belts more than two times in a year, you’re drunk. Most times a champion — go back and look through history — most times a champion usually fights one time a year, if they’re lucky. Two times is ideal, which I already did, and if I want to take a break, I think I earned that break...
“I just need a little bit more time. Maybe I get the itch sooner rather than later, but as of right now, I don’t want to fight until June. I think that’s more then enough time to get me all the things that I need to get in motion so I can set these things up and then I can focus solely on just the fight. That’s what I want to do.”
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On To The Next One. Matches to make following UFC Vegas 63.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Oh Nathan, coming into my dressing room before my fight? Throwing drinks like a pussy. Will settle this if u ever get out of your UFC contract.— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) October 30, 2022
Until then let’s change the game. I got big plans. I invite you to join Anderson & I to launch the United Fighters Association. In? https://t.co/nqIPjlgjBn
I beat Silva in boxing. Bet the house— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) October 30, 2022
We honestly all suck at boxing… be honest with yourselves… our champion got fucked up by Jake paul, all of our hands are #mmatwitter— Louis Smolka (@LouisSmolkaMMA) October 31, 2022
Henry Cejudo trying to get the Sean O’Malley bad since Aljamain Sterling is not pushing for that for some unknown reason.
Hey @danawhite since Denzel Sterling wants to work on his rap career (He can be called Lil Power) How about Me Vs Ronald MethDonald @SugaSeanMMA for a interim in Australia? I’m short so I’m used to being Down Under.— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) October 31, 2022
Really scraping the barrel this year…happy halloween pic.twitter.com/X2bbBwYnNn— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) October 31, 2022
If you guessed tomb raider - you are correct pic.twitter.com/rZ2GexTI08— Casey Oneill (@kingcaseymma) October 30, 2022
I don’t know what this means, but it’s provocative.
Man, Aljo’s video this week was very revealing. He says his goal is to have $2-5 million in his bank account/investments upon retirement. We’re talking about the bantamweight champion of the world. Crazy.
Anyway, Happy Halloween!
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