Sean O'Malley left no one doubting he's a champion at UFC 292 on Saturday night! He was crowned the new bantamweight champion following his TKO victory against Aljamain Sterling, which came after a close first round.
“It definitely sucks,” Sterling revealed to MMA Junkie after the fight. “I’m not going to lie about that. There was a lot coming into this fight. The quick turnaround and everything, but I was happy to do it. No excuses.” And although the former UFC Bantamweight Champion explained he felt relatively after the match, he insisted he could have stayed in the fight for longer. “I felt like the fight could’ve still kept going, to be honest,” Sterling said. “I rolled over to try to come back up, and as soon as he stepped in, I was fine. It was just one of those things. I can’t be mad at the ref. It is what it is.”
And although he congratulated his opponent on the win, Sterling, who holds the record for the most wins - and the most consecutive wins - in UFC Bantamweight history, shared that he'd like a second shot at proving he's worthy of victory. “I would love to have a rematch,” Sterling said. “… I don’t know which ways I’m going to go with things. I would first and foremost love a chance to run that back and just to get some definitive answers.” The loss broke off Sterling's nine-fight winning streak and ended his bantamweight title run.
When asked about his thoughts on the fight, UFC President Dana White responded, "It crushed the record for the bantamweight championship….we broke the all-time gate record here. Bruce Springsteen just played here and did $5 million. We did over $7 million. The Boston Garden, the craziest f*****g sports town on earth, other than their team that plays here, we’re the biggest thing that’s ever been here. So what does that tell you about O’Malley?" Following the record-breaking fight, White told reporters, "O’Malley isn’t gonna be a star. He is a star." And although O'Malley has always been one of the most popular cross-over stars on the UFC's roster, some still doubted he had what it takes to hold the title of world champion. Not anymore.