Don’t hold your breath for Sean O’Malley’s venture into the featherweight division anytime soon. The newly-crowned UFC bantamweight champion, known for his flashy fighting style and colorful personality, has his sights set on a multitude of exciting opportunities in his future career.
O’Malley’s journey to the top of the bantamweight division began with a spectacular victory on Dana White’s Contender Series back in July 2017. A first-round knockout of Alfred Khashakyan ignited his rise, culminating in a championship win against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292 just last month.
Throughout his 19-fight career, O’Malley (with a record of 17-1, 1 NC) has primarily competed at the 135-pound weight class, with the exception of a brief stint in the flyweight division early in his professional career. While the era of dual-division champions may have lost some of its luster in the UFC, it remains an intriguing possibility in today’s fight landscape.
Interestingly, before O’Malley’s ascent to the bantamweight throne, Sterling had hinted at the idea of moving up to challenge featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski. However, O’Malley isn’t enthusiastic about facing off against Volkanovski as long as the Australian fighter remains the reigning champ.
In his own words, O’Malley stated, “I would love to [move to featherweight], but only when Alexander Volkanovski is not the champ. That guy is pound-for-pound the best in the world right now.”
While he doesn’t outright dismiss the idea of fighting Volkanovski, O’Malley acknowledges the immense challenge it would pose. He exudes confidence in his striking ability, expressing his belief that he could potentially knock out the featherweight champ. However, he also recognizes the difficulty of such a feat and speculates that Volkanovski might eventually move up to the lightweight division, making the decision contingent on who holds the featherweight title at that time.
Volkanovski himself had a recent attempt at securing a second title in a different weight class, challenging lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in February. Unfortunately for the Australian legend, he fell short in a closely contested unanimous decision. Volkanovski is undoubtedly eager for a chance at redemption.
Meanwhile, O’Malley is focused on defending his bantamweight title in a talent-rich division. His first title defense is set to be a rematch against Marlon “Chito” Vera, the only fighter to hand O’Malley a defeat via a first-round TKO back in August 2020.
In conclusion, Sean O’Malley is in no rush to chase featherweight gold, especially with Alexander Volkanovski reigning supreme. The bantamweight division offers plenty of challenges and exciting matchups to keep O’Malley occupied for the foreseeable future.
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- Edgar Chairez (10-5, 1 NC) vs. Daniel Lacerda (11-5, 1 NC); UFC Vegas 81, Oct. 14
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Sean O’Malley’s decision not to pursue featherweight gold at the moment appears to be a wise one. With numerous challenges awaiting him in the bantamweight division, there’s no rush to dive into the realm of double champions. Time will tell if and when O’Malley decides to explore the featherweight waters.
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Will we ever see Sean O’Malley fight at featherweight?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Featherweight Transition
Is Sean O’Malley planning to move to the featherweight division in the UFC?
Sean O’Malley has expressed interest in moving to featherweight but not while Alexander Volkanovski is the reigning champion. He believes Volkanovski is the pound-for-pound best fighter and acknowledges the challenge of facing him.
Who is Sean O’Malley’s current opponent in the bantamweight division?
For his first title defense, Sean O’Malley hopes to rematch Marlon “Chito” Vera, who handed him his only loss in August 2020 via a first-round TKO.
Did Alexander Volkanovski attempt to win a second title in a different weight class?
Yes, Alexander Volkanovski challenged lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in February but fell short in a closely contested unanimous decision.