“Who wouldn’t want to see that?” Sean O’Malley and team eye Spaniard Ilia Topuria for next fight after UFC 299 Chito Vera matchup

Sean O'Malley's longtime MMA Lab coach Tim Welch echoes the fighter's aspirations for Ilia Topuria fight.


“Who wouldn’t want to see that?” Sean O’Malley and team eye Spaniard Ilia Topuria for next fight after UFC 299 Chito Vera matchup

Ilia Topuria and Sean O'Malley (Courtesy-Imago)

Sean O’Malley meets Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera in the UFC 299 headliner at Kaseya Center in Miami. ‘Suga’ will defend his title for the first time. He will also try to rebound from 2020’s first-round TKO skid to Marlon Vera. Ahead of the March 9 headliner, O’Malley, 17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC, has remained afflicted by the single loss on his stat. However, the self-proclaimed undefeated champ has other things in mind after settling the record dispute against Chito Vera at UFC 299. He aims for Ilia Topuria after UFC 299.

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O’Malley’s coach, Tim Welch, went on The MMA Hour to preview the fight. Speaking to Ariel Helwani, he praised Vera but did not think Vera had improved since their last fight. Moreover, Welch weighed in on 145lber Ilia Topuria. O’Malley has gone back and forth with the Spanish fighter. Here’s what he currently stands on the matter:

If Ilia is able to get past Volk, which is... I mean it's possible, but I don't know... And [then], Sean knocks out Chito... Who wouldn't wanna see that fight [O'Malley vs. Topuria]? That would be a sweet fight...
Tim Welch via MMA Hour

Topuria, the 14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC undefeated featherweight, faces Alexander Volkanovski in the UFC 298 main event next week. O’Malley has already eyed to face him in a massive event at the $2.3 Billion Sphere in Las Vegas. However, in an interview, Topuria snubbed O’Malley as he saw no apparent benefit.

Concurrently, Welch also lauded the Spanish star for his orthodox striking stance. However, the longtime coach prompted that O’Malley has trained against Orthodox boxers like him for a while now so that he would be ready. Only time will tell if the UFC decides to go that route, provided both O’Malley and Topuria emerge victorious.

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Sean O’Malley is ready to take on Ilia Topuria in a massive event at the Sphere in Las Vegas

Sean O’Malley holds his first title defense at UFC 299 next month. The 135 lb champion goes up against Marlon Vera, his only career skid so far. Apart from the title rematch, though, ‘Suga’ has yet again engaged in callouts to Spanish featherweight Ilia Topuria.

Sean O'Malley wants to headline the event at The Sphere
Sean O’Malley wants to headline the event at The Sphere (via IMAGO/Wikipedia/Instagram)

Since bagging the bantamweight gold from Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292, O’Malley had caught much flack for choosing #6 ranked Vera for his title defense. However, Topuria is the only other name he provided a leeway for.

The promotion has recently confirmed booking the $2.3 Billion Las Vegas Sphere for an all-Mexican affair. This is for the Mexican Independence Day. Concurrently, O’Malley aspires to fight Topuria for his chance at two-division glory at the spectacular venue. Speaking on Shak MMA, check out what he said in the video below:

Time and again,  ‘El Matador’ has snubbed O’Malley, as he does not want the so-called superstar to rise banking on his stardom. Hence, this is not a prospective name he wants to associate with. Taking to X, Topuria also critiqued O’Malley’s PPV buyouts and draw power. This is a topic that Aljaman Sterling has touched on abundantly.

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Given that they both win, such an envisioned champion vs. champion square-off would be of immense value. However, nothing is set in stone just yet.

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