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Rankings Shakeup: Sean O’Malley is the new king of the bantamweight division

Sean O’Malley now holds a UFC title. And he might just be getting started.

There’s no question now that O’Malley has lived up to the hype after signing with the UFC off of Dana White’s Contender Series six years ago. On Saturday at UFC 292, he needed little more than a round to dispose of Aljamain Sterling and begin his reign as champion of the loaded bantamweight division.

Prior to beating Sterling, O’Malley’s most notable win was against former champion Petr Yan with a bevy of highlights against unranked—and currently unsigned—opposition. None of that matters now, because O’Malley now stands above them all after shaking up the MMA Fighting Global Rankings.

There’s no way to downplay what O’Malley has achieved here. Though his popularity has helped him leapfrog a few contenders, the fact is that he beat Sterling and Yan to become champion and that’s as good a set of back-to-back wins as you can find. How he’ll fare going forward remains to be seen, with numerous qualified challengers lining up to face him (Merab Dvalishvili, Cory Sandhagen, Marlon Vera, Umar Nurmagomedov... the list goes on) or even the possibility of an immediate rematch with Sterling.

The UFC can worry about all of that later as they find themselves with a fresh star on their hands thanks to O’Malley taking care of business. The sky appears to be the limit for O’Malley, a media-savvy fighter that holds major appeal to a coveted younger demographic. During his rise to the top, he regularly told fans and media about the grand plan for his career, one that included making a memorable run to a UFC title.

Now even the biggest doubters have no choice but to listen up.


Who should be Sean O’Malley’s first title defense?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Merab Dvalishvili
    (333 votes)
  • 39%
    Marlon "Chito" Vera rematch
    (320 votes)
  • 9%
    Cory Sandhagen
    (75 votes)
  • 9%
    Aljamain Sterling rematch
    (77 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (leave comment below)
    (12 votes)
817 votes total Vote Now

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