Aljamain Sterling thinks that the UFC will be in a great spot no matter which fighter comes out on top in the main event of UFC 292 this weekend.
“Funk Master” has already defended his bantamweight title three times against three former champions, but his upcoming title defense with Sean O’Malley feels like it may be the biggest fight of his career considering the significant amount of popularity that O’Malley has been able to attract inside and outside of the sport.
There’s been plenty of trash talk between the two leading up to UFC 292, and when Sterling appeared on The MMA Hour the week of the event Ariel Helwani asked if he felt like the UFC brass had any preference regarding the winner of the matchup.
“Listen, I think it’s a win-win for them honestly,” Sterling answered. “Because this is one of those opportunities where – the way I assess things is, Conor [McGregor] and Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. Khabib doesn’t explode the way that he did without Conor. Maybe in the Caucus region he’s very popular, okay, cool. But in the states, he didn’t really become nowhere near as popular without a proper dance partner in Conor McGregor.”
Aljamain Sterling: “This Is An Opportunity For Me To Catapult Myself”
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 was one of the biggest fights in the promotion’s history, and Sterling hopes that a win over the outspoken O’Malley will help to elevate his own career.
“Now for me, I think this is a win-win for the UFC, where I have that dance partner and the knock-off Conor McGregor is not as good. This is an opportunity for me to catapult myself off of everything that he kinda has. I’m out here to take everything Ariel, I’m taking everything this man has. Every last 15, 14 year old Fortnite, video game, Twitch streamer that he has. I’m taking everything. So this is my moment, and obviously if he wins it’s a way for him to validate everything he’s done so far for his career.”
Currently sitting at #2 in the UFC’s bantamweight rankings, O’Malley’s last victory was a controversial split decision over former champion Petr Yan at UFC 280. While some fans argued that “No Mercy” should have walked away with the win, the fight did show that O’Malley is capable of competing with a fighter the shared the Octagon with Sterling on two occasions.
The bantamweight title fight between Sterling and O’Malley will serve as the highly-anticipated headliner for UFC 292, but there will also be UFC gold on the line in the night’s co-main event when Weili Zhang defends her strawweight title against the #5-ranked Amanda Lemos.
- Read Also: Sean O’Malley Names Mistake From Cory Sandhagen He Won’t Replicate Against Aljamain Sterling At UFC 292
Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.