MMA

UFC bantamweight champ Sean O’Malley in camp for next fight

Sean O’Malley isn’t sure when exactly his next fight will be, but he has already started training camp in anticipation of it.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, the UFC bantamweight champ said he expects to fight at The Sphere in Las Vegas this September, or at a December card in the same city. Without a firm answer, however, he has decided to start preparing as a precaution. 

“Honest to God I have not heard from the UFC yet, and we’re getting too damn close [to The Sphere show],” he said. “I’m in camp right now just in case. It’s a little over nine weeks out. I’m in camp now just in case. 

“I’m still hoping for The Sphere. It’s still the same [expletive] – Sphere or December. I’m pretty sure either way it’s going to be in Vegas, which I’m pumped about, to go back to Vegas and fight.”

O’Malley’s next challenger is expected to be Merab Dvalishvili. The No. 1-ranked bantamweight contender, from Georgia, has won 10-straight fights — a streak that includes victories over top fighters like Jose Aldo, Petr Yan, and Henry Cejudo. 

The UFC’s debut in Las Vegas’ new state of the art Sphere arena is set for September 14. O’Malley believes his fight with Dvalishvili would be a good headliner for the landmark card, but recognizes that the UFC has other options for the main event. 

“The Sphere, Dana [White] keeps saying it’s going to be something [expletive] crazy,” he said. “You’ve got Conor [McGregor] and [Michael] Chandler, you’ve got Max [Holloway] vs. Ilia [Topuria], you’ve got me vs. Merab. You’ve got some pretty big fights to make.”

Sean O’Malley won the bantamweight belt with a knockout of Aljamain Sterling last year, and defended it for the first time in March, when he thumped Marlon “Chito” Vera to a clear-cut decision win. 

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