Is a title shot next for Sean O’Malley after UFC 280?

Daniel Cunningham
Oct 22, 2022; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sean O'Malley (blue gloves) defeats Petr Yan (red gloveS) during UFC 280 at Etihad Arena. Mandatory Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

This past weekend on the main card of UFC 280, we saw a potential title eliminator in the bantamweight division. Former bantamweight champion Petr Yan (16-4) took on the surging star “Suga” Sean O’Malley (16-1, 1 NC).

This was a massive test for O’Malley and many thought that he didn’t deserve a shot against someone like Yan. However, O’Malley was determined to take on the best competition possible and he met Petr Yan right in the middle of the octagon.

The first round was very close with both men having some success. You could make the argument that either man won the first round, but I leaned towards O’Malley. The second round started with O’Malley rocking Yan. However, Yan immediately rocked O’Malley back and won the rest of the round.

The third round was another close one with both men having their moments. Yan was able to secure some takedowns which I figured bagged the fight for him. I scored it 29-28 for Yan. I’m a huge Sean O’Malley fan, but I didn’t think he won the fight. However, all that matters is the judges and two gave him the fight and the win at UFC 280.

UFC title shot next?

With the official win over Yan, O’Malley has jumped all the way to the number one ranking in the bantamweight division. Prior to the event of the weekend, Dana White hinted that the winner of O’Malley – Yan would be fighting for the title. Is that still the case?

White was a little less confident in answering that question after UFC 280. I do think that O’Malley is on the very short list of contenders for Sterling. In fact, I think there’s only two options for his next title defense. I think Sterling will either fight Sean O’Malley or Henry Cejudo.

If you want to please the die-hard fans, Cejudo is the pick. Cejudo never lost the title inside the octagon and his resume is unmatched. In my opinion, Cejudo deserves a title fight for his first fight back. Now, if you want the biggest money maker, of course you go with the Suga Show.

If they go with Cejudo, I would love to see the rematch between O’Malley and Chito Vera. Perhaps their rematch could be on the same card as Sterling – Cejudo. Either way, I’m anxious to watch it play out.