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Sean O’Malley: UFC ‘wants me to main event my own show,’ expects early 2024 return

When Sean O’Malley returns for the UFC bantamweight title for the first time, he won’t be sharing the pay-per-view marquee with anyone.

Following his shock second-round knockout of Aljamain Sterling last August, O’Malley quickly turned his attention to a potential rematch with Chito Vera, leading to a December Confrontation. Vera is the only fighter to defeat O’Malley in his MMA career.

However, O’Malley soon learned that while the Villa game was still on the cards, it might not take place until 2024.

“I really, really really want to compete in December,” O’Malley explained. JRE MMA Show. “Like when I called Chito last December, but I talked to the UFC and they already had (a plan). They were trying to get Colby (Covington) and Leon (Edwards) together.

“I asked them – they wanted me to headline my own show, and I thought that was terrible. I was frustrated by it.”

O’Malley’s title fight against Sterling was his first UFC main event. The 28-year-old bantamweight champion has quickly become one of the most talked about and popular fighters on the entire roster.

While O’Malley seems ready to headline another pay-per-view, he doesn’t think he’ll be sharing the spotlight with another UFC champion on this card. That eliminates an ideal landing spot for his next game.

“I think UFC 300 will be in April,” O’Malley said. “It would be a sweet card, but again, they’re not going to (want me to main event). I would guess (I would fight again) before that, before UFC 300.”

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski recently proposed having his next fight in January, but the promotion has yet to announce any New Year’s resolutions.

O’Malley is gritting his teeth to defend his belt, and he still believes Vera is his most wanted opponent in this fight.

“I really hope (the UFC) just fucking says ‘let’s fucking do it,'” O’Malley said of the Vera fight.

“I still have to go out there and prove it. I think once you’re a champion, are you a champion? You’ve got to defend the belt. You’ve got to defend the fucking belt, so I’m looking forward to that.”

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