Former bantamweight champions Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan respond to Sean O'Malley's UFC 299 win

Two former bantamweight champions weighed in on Sean O'Malley's performance at UFC 299.
UFC 299: O'Malley v Vera 2
UFC 299: O'Malley v Vera 2 / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan were UFC bantamweight champions before Sean O'Malley. Both men took to Twitter following O'Malley's victory over Marlon Vera in the main event of UFC 299 to share their thoughts on his performance.

Sterling was very complimentary of O'Malley, crediting him with winning every round. However, he did think the punch that Vera landed at the end of the fight could have changed the fight had there been more time on the clock.

"That body shot at the end could’ve been the fight!! Nasty! O’Malley looked great tonight. Some moments where Chito rallied back, but Sean won every round in my book," he tweeted on Satruday night.

O'Malley knocked out Sterling to capture the bantamweight title at UFC 292. Despite being a long-reigning champion, Sterling seems content to move up to featherweight and not chase a rematch with O'Malley.

Sterling's teammate Merab Dvalishvili is considered the top contender and will likely get the next title fight against O'Malley. Dvalishvili weighed in as the backup fighter at UFC 299.

Sterling is scheduled to fight Calvin Kattar at UFC 300 and give Dvalishvili his chance to fight for a title. While Sterling was the champion, Dvalishvili refused to fight Sterling and sat on the sidelines for months.

Petr Yan was watching the O'Malley vs. Vera fight backstage

Prior to Sterling, Yan was the champion.

Yan lost twice to Sterling. In his first fight after losing the title, Yan fought O'Malley at UFC 280. O'Malley won the fight by split-decision. However, the judge's scorecards were extremely controversial, with the majority of fans and media feeling that Yan won the fight. Even, the usually cocky O'Malley wasn't sure he won the fight in his post-fight interview.

Yan, who also fought at UFC 299, defeating Song Yadong, posted a video on Twitter of him watching the main event. The video then cuts to Yan, who calls for a fight with O'Malley saying that he will submit him.

Neither Sterling or Yan should get the next shot at Sean O'Malley

Yan will likely have to wait his turn and win another fight before he can get another title shot.

Dvalishvili is the obvious choice to be O'Malley's next title challenger, as he has the strongest resume. However, O'Malley might have thrown a wrench into the bantamweight title picture. After the main event, O'Malley called for a title fight against featherweight champion Ilia Topuria.

If the UFC opts for O'Malley and Topuria next, it would open the door for Cory Sandhagen and Yan to get the next bantamweight title fight. Yan defeated Sandhagen at UFC 267. However, Dvalishvilli holds a victory over Yan from March 11, 2023.

If O'Malley is not available for a bantamweight fight for the remainder of the year, it would likely result in some combination of Yan, Sandhagen, and Dvalishvilli fighting each other to determine who would get first crack after O'Malley, should he fight at bantamweight again.


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