UFC 292 acted as “The Sugar Show’s” crowning moment. Just 51 seconds into round two of his first championship bout against Aljamain Sterling, O’Malley closed the show and took the title with a picture-perfect right-hand counter followed by some ground-and-pound punches. Since bursting onto the scene as part of season one of Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017, O’Malley was instantly viewed as a possible superstar and has officially reached his full potential. Now it’s a matter of how far the 28-year-old can take it.
The former two-division UFC champion Cejudo isn’t buying what has been sold to him, however. Claiming to know the numbers brought in for UFC 292, “Triple C” sees a lot left to be desired.
“Guess what, guys, I have friends at ESPN. I’m not gonna say who but Sean O’Malley [vs. Sterling] did anywhere between 300,000 to 350,000 [PPV buys],” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “That’s it. That’s all Sean O’Malley made in pay-per-view buys. Is 350,000 pay-per-view buys — is that a surplus or is that down? The other guy who will probably more likely know is Aljamain Sterling.
“Everyone was projecting that this event was one of the biggest of the year. It’s not true. So, my question is to Sean O’Malley: Do you have that sauce to sell, to be a pay-per-view superstar? Yeah, you just won the belt but you would imagine you’re fighting in Boston against a current champ who has gone down and got wins over legends, how big is the name of Sean O’Malley? Yeah, does he have a following through Instagram? 100 percent. But can he sell pay-per-views?”
UFC PPV buy rates no longer get out to the public after aligning with ESPN, but from a free-to-view standpoint, O’Malley finish has 8.9 million views on the UFC YouTube channel at the time of writing.
While he’s coming off a close split-decision loss to the now-former champion Sterling, Cejudo believes he can and still should be in title contention. O’Malley has already mentioned his name as a possibility for his first title defense sometime within the next five months. Ultimately, Sterling intends to take time off until 2024 and the next top-ranked contender Merab Dvalishvili is still recovering from a recent hand surgery. The same can be said for Cory Sandhagen, who suffered a torn tricep in his recent unanimous decision victory over Rob Font.
As loaded as bantamweight is with excellent fighters and options at the top to fight for gold, the most likely choices appear to boil down to Cejudo and Marlon Vera, who gave O’Malley his lone career loss in 2020. When looking at the realistic side of outcomes, Cejudo can’t see why O’Malley wouldn’t want to defend against him first because if he wins he’s much more likely to get an instant rematch than if he were to fall to 0-2 against Vera.
“I would insert my name in the hat to fight Sean, especially with the fact that we’re both from the same city, our gyms are rivals … You’d figure that would be a storyline because they don’t want to give Merab [a title shot],” Cejudo said. “The UFC don’t want somebody that’s just going to wrestle. If somebody’s just going to wrestle then go back to Georgia, man. Even me as a wrestler, I find it boring. Could I go in there and just start wrestling everybody to death? Yeah. I wouldn’t be marketable nor would I have fun and I would probably just go back to wrestling.”
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UFC Paris lookback.
Top finishes from UFC Paris fighters.
Big Bellator debuts.
RIZIN 44 trailer.
Dan Hardy predicts future champs.
Your move, Paul.
Still going strong.
Catch Wrestler vs Catch Wrestler
MMA Fighter vs MMA Fighter
King vs King
9/3 at Edion Arena, this match with be the last argument of kings – Ultima Ratio Regum.
I will have the final say. pic.twitter.com/i2k3EufnNa
— (@JoshLBarnett) August 30, 2023
Wake me up before you gogo.
Got my Twitter back! Sorry fam for those who got scammed. That makes me sick. Hope all is well. Lets keep rolling fam.
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) August 30, 2023
What’s the prob, Merab?
I don’t get what the problem is . There is no question of who should fight for title now – It’s Aljo or me.
— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) August 31, 2023
Because of course.
Биберт Туменов и Коди Гарбрандт устроили потасовку на сьемках подкаста перед #ACA162
Гарбрандт приехал в Россию, чтобы секундировать Лэнса Палмера, который подерется с Туменовым в эту субботу.
ACA MMA pic.twitter.com/umSeQ1aFen
— Вестник ММА (@VestnikMMA) August 30, 2023
Khasan Magomedsharipov (8-0) vs. Martin McDonough (12-6); Bellator 299, Sept. 23
Not sure if it’s fair to judge O’Malley’s drawing ability yet. UFC 292 was his first PPV headliner and even then, that 300,000 – 350,000 range isn’t terrible, especially to start.
Thanks for reading!