Alexander Volkanovski’s list of next fight options just got a little shorter after UFC 292.
The UFC’s big return to Boston, Massachusetts was capped off with quite an unforgettable memory atop the bantamweight division this past Saturday. Reigning champion Aljamain Sterling entered the main event with intentions of securing a fourth straight title defense but instead had his dreams dashed by perennial rising superstar Sean O’Malley via second-round TKO.
Ahead of the bout, Sterling made it very clear that the featherweight division was in his immediate future as he was ready to cut less weight and open a door to a title shot for his best friend, teammate, and top-ranked contender, Merab Dvalishvili. An O’Malley win would have led to a potential champion vs. champion tilt for Sterling against “The Great” Volkanovski. All it took was one picture-perfect right hand and some follow-up hammer fists for O’Malley to spoil the potential golden parade at 145 pounds.
“Gotta feel for ‘Aljo,’ man,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “I mean, what does he want to do? He’s definitely going to want that rematch. That’s a big, big fight. [Him vs. me] that’s not happening. You never know, if he would have had a big win he could have took Ilia [Topuria’s] spot but [he didn’t].
“We talked about it in my breakdown, I was saying obviously his (O’Malley’s) distance control and his movement, footwork, is going to be very hard to deal with. He’s so good at fighting on the back foot, coming forward, that was a good example fo him coming on the back foot. Aljamain, nothing wrong with that attack he did. Even probably felt like he got his head off center and Sean O’Malley was still able to just make him miss by a millimeter and fire that two. Like I said, his eyes, pretty incredible on top of all that footwork. Credit Sean O’Malley with an incredible finish. Wow.”
O’Malley’s win now helps further highlight Volkanovski’s dominance as a five-time defending champion, which is a higher number of title defenses than all other UFC champions in their current reigns combined (three). For many, Volkanovski sits atop the pound-for-pound rankings list as the best fighter on the planet.
Last defeating Yair Rodriguez via a dominant third-round TKO performance last month, Volkanovski is next expected to be challenged by Ilia Topuria. However, the Australia legend suffered a minor injury to his elbow in his last time out but is healing up nicely and wants to return to his active ways as soon as possible. Now that Sterling is going to be out of the possible immediate featherweight picture, Volkanovski has a clearer picture of when he’ll return.
“What’s next for me? ‘Aljo,’ if he was to win in world fashion and called his shot he could have stepped in front of Ilia,” Volkanovski said. “Ilia’s been pretty quiet. I thought he’d be chirping, wanting to make sure he gets that fight. Obviously, I want to fight as soon as possible.
“I’m able to do a fair bit [regarding the elbow]. I’m already able to post with it, I’m not punching with it yet but I will be. I’m staying fit, doing strength, doing everything I need to. I want to be back in there before the end of the year. Islam [Makhachev’s] fighting, I want that rematch, but he’s fighting in October so I want to fight before then. I don’t want to fight early next year. If I was gonna wait that long, it may as well be Islam but I don’t want to wait that long. So, Ilia, keep running your mouth. I like it. Makes me want to punch you in the face even more.”
Cost. Aljamain Sterling regrets trying to have an exciting fight with Sean O’Malley: ‘I made the mistake … I paid for it’
Teacher. Ian Machado Garry glad he taught ‘scumbag’ Neil Magny a lesson at UFC 292
Downfall. Dana White begs Chris Weidman, ‘please, please retire’ after UFC 292 loss; Weidman vows ‘I’m not done’
Response. ‘Call out Merab you p****‘: Fighters react to Sean O’Malley’s knockout of Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292
Assessment. Teddy Atlas: Aljamain Sterling’s ‘demise’ with Sean O’Malley set up in 1st round of UFC 292 headliner
Rivals. Marlon Vera: ‘I think Sean O’Malley is in love with me’
Matchmaking. Weili Zhang welcomes Tatiana Suarez as next strawweight title challenger
Outcomes. Michael Chandler addresses Conor McGregor USADA situation: ‘It’s not going to make a difference’
Precision. Sean O’Malley breaks down UFC 292 knockout of Aljamain Sterling: ‘I’m a sniper’
UFC 292 Post-Fight Show.
On To the Next One.
UFC 292 Post-Fight Presser.
O’Malley’s crowning moment.
Bellator’s best KOs by the year.
2023 RIZIN chaos.
PFL Playoff highlights.
Road to Championship.
The Clay Collard story.
Deep Jewels 42 trailer.
Aya Murakami vs. Amp the Rocket preview.
War Room: Holloway vs. Jung.
Bo in the (ice) bath.
Eddie Hearn I’ll beat all ur fighters asses
Lightweight middleweight Heavyweights any weight all of them will get fucked up
And unless it’s complimentary keep my name outta your mouth cause u might get it also
And fighters check your promoter so he doesn’t get uguys punked…
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) August 18, 2023
Sharing the juice.
Mma corners need to consider throwing in the towel more often. Just sayin
— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) August 20, 2023
Damn the internet is not safe. I’m seeing receipts everywhere.
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) August 20, 2023
It was very odd to me. Rolling backwards to all 4’s isn’t showing intelligent defense, I guess. I never “went out”, was moving the on the ground, but that’s the game. All comes down to the ref judgement, which is out of my control. I should’ve never rushed the 2nd RD action.… https://t.co/8PZq4IoPPO
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) August 20, 2023
Zarah Fairn (6-5) vs. Jacqueline Cavalcanti (5-1); UFC Paris, Sept. 2
Kevin Holland (25-9) vs. Jack Della Maddalena (15-2); Noche UFC, Sept. 16
Michel Pereira (28-11) vs. Marc-André Barriault (16-6); UFC Vegas 81, Oct. 14
Angela Hill (15-13) vs. Denise Gomes (8-2); UFC Sao Paulo, Nov. 4
Rodolfo Vieira (9-2) vs. Armen Petrosyan (8-2); UFC Sao Paulo, Nov. 4
Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos (24-7) vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov (22-2); UFC Sao Paulo, Nov. 4
Jessica Andrade (24-12) vs. Mackenzie Dern (13-3); UFC 295, Nov. 11
The O’Malley vs. Sterling stoppage was perfect. Please don’t create fake controversy.
Thanks for reading!
Last Week’s Results:
Friday: 59% of 313 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Will Colby Covington fight in 2023?”
Thursday: 91% of 507 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Do you agree with Dustin Poirier?”
Wednesday: 53% of 529 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Is Sean O’Malley one of the best strikers in the UFC?”
Tuesday: 486 total votes answered “Aljamain Sterling and Zhang Weili” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Sean O’Malley defeated Sterling via second-round TKO in UFC 292’s main event. Zhang defeated Amanda Lemos via unanimous decision in UFC 292’s co-main event.
Monday: 55% of 601 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Will Sean Strickland try and grapple with Israel Adesanya?”
Today’s exit poll: