“Can’t have performances like that,” Sean O’Malley unveils ambitious roadmap to become UFC’s biggest star by 2024

Sean O'Malley weighs in on returning to the Octagon against Marlon Vera in March, and the performance output he wants to exhibit in his career.


“Can’t have performances like that,” Sean O’Malley unveils ambitious roadmap to become UFC’s biggest star by 2024

Chito Vera and Sean O'Malley (Source: IMAGO)

CEO Dana White announced the first three UFC PPV headliners for 2024, and the final one features a rematch. White announced that UFC 299, set to take place in March, will be headlined by bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon “Chito” Vera. This is to be the first title defense for O’Malley. The fighter has been aiming to fight Vera for a while now. O’Malley suffered his only career skid to Vera, in 2020.

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Talking to Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour, O’Malley laid out his aspirations on fighting at UFC 292, the aftermath, Vera, and other stuff. He said:

I go out there and knock out ‘Chito,’ get one more fight end of the year, win that, 2-0 in 2024, I believe I will be the biggest name in sports. Especially doing it in spectacular fashion, not boring like ‘Chito’ vs. Pedro (Munhoz). That was super boring...I can’t have performances like that. That would be embarrassing. I definitely don’t want to do that. That’s not how you become (the biggest star in sports)...

After losing to Vera in 2020, O’Malley won three straight fights by knockout before facing Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 in July 2022. After O’Malley accidentally poked Munhoz in the eye, the two fought to a no contest. From there, O’Malley faced former bantamweight champion Petr Yan.

Then, O’Malley claimed the bantamweight title by knocking out Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292. Top contenders Merab Dvalishvili and Cory Sandhagen are options for his first title defense, but he opted to go for Vera.

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Since the O’Malley win, Vera has gone 6-2 inside the octagon. His two skids came to former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former interim title challenger Sandhagen. After that particular loss, Vera was to fight Henry Cejudo in a title eliminator at UFC 292. With Cejudo’s injury, Vera fought Munhoz. There, he got the decision win. Currently, Vera is ranked #6 in the division. Moreover, both fighters have been making significant callouts.

Dana White announces title bouts for UFC 297, UFC 298, and UFC 299

CEO Dana White took to social media on Monday to announce a trio of title fights for early 2024. First off, UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland will defend his belt against Dricus du Plessis at UFC 297 in Toronto in January.

Then, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski returns to 145lbs to face Ilia Topuria at UFC 298. Lastly, bantamweight king Sean O’Malley rematches with Marlon Vera at UFC 299 in March.

Sean O'Malley and Chito Vera
Sean O’Malley and Chito Vera (Source:: Twitter)

O’Malley standing at 17-1, 1 NC, won the belt with a TKO of Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292 in August. He is currently unbeaten with 6 six-fight win streak. His only loss came to Vera, back at UFC 252. Vera, who has the most finishes (10) in UFC bantamweight history, has won 5 of his 6 fights lately. O’Malley made a callout to Vera after his title win.

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Also on the February pay-per-view card, which also has no location or date announced, Alexander Volkanovski will defend his UFC featherweight title against Ilia Topuria. ESPN has Volkanovski at #3 on its MMA pound-for-pound list and O’Malley at #7.

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