What’s next for Sean O’Malley after UFC 260?

Sean O'Malley

This past Saturday at UFC 260, the Suga Show returned to the octagon. On the PPV main card, Sean O’Malley (13-1) took on Thomas Almeida (22-5) in a big matchup in the bantamweight division.

There is no questioning the fact that Sean O’Malley has star appeal. The young bantamweight contender has amassed a big following on social media and his fighting style/personality makes him a very polarizing figure.

O’Malley suffered his first career loss back at UFC 252 against Chito Vera (16-7-1). In that fight, O’Malley started very well, but ultimately, the calf kicks of Chito Vera cut down the young contender and Vera got the TKO win.

This was a huge fight for O’Malley because a loss would be detrimental to his appeal. Thomas Almeida at one point was looked at as a future UFC champion. He was once 21-1, however, a skid had him 1-3 in his last four leading to UFC 260.

Unfortunately for Almeida, the skid didn’t stop. Outside of landing some decent kicks, Almeida was completely dominated by O’Malley. O’Malley ended up scoring a massive third round KO to show the world that UFC 252 wasn’t the end of the Suga Show after all.

What’s next after UFC 260?

Prior to his loss to Vera, O’Malley had just entered the UFC’s top fifteen at bantamweight. With Vera in that fifteenth spot, I don’t expect to see O’Malley in the rankings when they get updated tomorrow.

However, I believe he needs to fight a ranked opponent in his next fight. There are a couple of options out there for the Suga Show. One fight I like is the winner of the upcoming Cody Stamann – Merab Dvalishvili fight. 

Whoever would win between that winner and O’Malley would shoot into the top ten of the division. However, there’s another intriguing matchup that Chael Sonnen mentioned on Saturday night.

That matchup would be against former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (23-3). Cruz just got back on the winning track after a lengthy layoff at UFC 259. A matchup between the two would make a lot of sense for both.

For O’Malley, it would give him the chance to defeat a former UFC champion and arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. For Dominick Cruz, he could make a statement to O’Malley’s following that he’s still here and he’s not going anywhere. Several compelling options for The Suga Show.

After setback against Dominick Cruz at UFC 259, what’s next for Casey Kenney?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, the featured prelim was a pivotal matchup in the bantamweight division. Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (23-3) was making his return against rising contender, Casey Kenney (16-3-1).

Entering UFC 259, Casey Kenney had a lot of momentum. He had won three fights in a row and was on the verge of a ranking. This fight against the former champion was his golden opportunity to bust into the top fifteen.

The first round went a lot like a lot of Dominick Cruz fights. Casey Kenney seemed a little thrown off by the movement and the defense of Cruz. The entire first round, it appeared that Kenney was a step behind.

In the second round, Kenney really started to find his groove. He was blasting the former UFC champion with low kicks and he kept pushing forward to cut off the movement of Cruz. The second round was a clear win for Kenney.

Going into the third, the fight was on the table. Both men did well in the first couple of minutes, but Cruz landed a big takedown in the second half of the round. In the end, two of the three judges gave the split decision win at UFC 259 to Dominick Cruz.

What’s next for Casey Kenney after UFC 259?

While he didn’t get the win on Saturday night, Casey Kenney showed me a lot. He showed that he belongs in there with some of the best in the division. So while it was a split decision loss, I don’t think he lost any ground in the division.

When thinking about what comes next for Kenney, there is one opponent that sticks out to me. That would be the Team Alpha Male product, Song Yadong (16-5-1, 1 NC). Song was also on the UFC 259 prelims and lost to Kyler Phillips.

This loss kicked Song out of the top fifteen at bantamweight. I believe that both of these guys are in a very similar position and I think a fight between the two would make a lot of sense. Whoever would win would have a great argument to get back in the UFC rankings.

After getting back in the win column at UFC 259, what’s next for Dominick Cruz?

It’s been a tough last decade for the former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (23-3). Back in 2011, Cruz was on top of the world as the bantamweight champion. He ended that year by defending his title against Demetrious Johnson.

However, after that win, it would be almost three years before Cruz would compete again in the UFC. A series of knee injuries kept the former champion out of action. During that time, the promotion and the division moved on.

Cruz came back and looked incredible against Takeya Mizugaki in 2014. However, it would be another year and a half before Cruz was to fight again. Between October 2011 and January 2016, Dominick Cruz fought one time.

In January of 2016, Cruz completed his comeback by defeating TJ Dillashaw to become UFC bantamweight champion once again. He then defended the title successfully against Urijah Faber. Cruz would go on to lose the title to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207.

After that loss, Cruz would remain out of action for three and a half years. Cruz returned last May to fight Henry Cejudo for the title at UFC 249. Cruz was finished in the second round and contemplated retirement.

However, he decided to give fighting another chance. He returned Saturday to take on Casey Kenney (16-3-1) at UFC 259. While it wasn’t the most high profile fight, it was a dangerous one. Cruz looked great in his return and was able to pickup the decision victory.

What’s next after UFC 259?

This past Saturday saw Dominick Cruz win for the first time since June of 2016. It was a massive win for Cruz and now The Dominator appears focused on another run at the UFC bantamweight title.

With the win, you should expect to see Cruz against someone in the top ten next. There are two fights that I would love to see for Dominick Cruz. The first fight is against Frankie Edgar (24-9-1).

Edgar is coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Cory Sandhagen. However, if Edgar would’ve won that fight, he would’ve been next in line for a title shot. The matchup between the two legends would be a lot of fun and it makes sense according to the UFC rankings.

Another fun matchup would be Cruz against Jose Aldo (29-7). Aldo is currently ranked near the top of the division and he’s coming off of a win against Chito Vera. This matchup of former champions is one that fans wanted to see years ago when Aldo dominated 145 and Cruz dominated 135.

I could easily see the UFC putting these two legends together in a fight next. Really, either of those options makes sense for Dominick Cruz. While we don’t know exactly what’s next, we know that Dominick Cruz is back.

Dominick Cruz edges out Casey Kenney at UFC 259

In the featured prelim of tonight’s insane UFC 259 card, we saw the return of arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. Former champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3) returned to take on one of the division’s top prospects, Casey Kenney (16-2-1).

For Dominick Cruz, this is his second fight is less than 12 months. The last time you could say that about Cruz was back in 2016 when he was the UFC bantamweight champion. In December of 2016, Cruz lost the title to Cody Garbrandt.

After that fight, we wouldn’t see Dominick Cruz back in the UFC until last May when he lost to Henry Cejudo. Many were unsure if we’d see Dominick Cruz again inside the octagon, but the former champion is motivated to make one more run at the bantamweight title.

Standing in his way was the rising prospect Casey Kenney. Kenney has been incredibly impressive since making the jump to the UFC from LFA. Since making his debut, Kenney has gone 5-1 inside the octagon.

The lone loss that he suffered was against top fifteen contender, Merab Dvalishvili. Kenney is on the verge of a top fifteen spot and if he was able to defeat the former UFC champion, you definitely would be seeing a number by his name next week.

UFC 259 Recap

Round 1

The featured prelim at UFC 259 opened with a lot of classic movement from Dominick Cruz. Kenney pushed forward with instant pressure and Cruz attempted a takedown, but Kenney sprawled well. The two separated and went back to striking.

A couple of clean leg kicks land for Cruz. A few big punches thrown from Kenney, but Cruz defended well. A massive headkick lands for Cruz, but Kenney just eats it. Two more good kicks land for Cruz.

Kenney was pressing forward, but wasn’t landing in the first. Kenney starts throwing his own leg kicks. Cruz then pops Kenney with a couple of clean shots. The defense was on point from Dominick Cruz in the first as Kenney was missing badly.

Good lead uppercut lands for Cruz. A nice three punch combination lands for Cruz as Kenney throws a leg kick. A nice jab pops Cruz, but Kenney was starting to rack up leg kicks. First round at UFC 259 comes to a close and this was a clear round for the former champion.

Round 2

A very promising first round for the former UFC champion. The second round started with a touch of the gloves and Kenney immediately went back to pressure. A powerful leg kick from Kenney buckles Dominick Cruz.

Cruz lands a good right hand that he tries to chain into a takedown, but Kenney defended. More leg kicks land for Casey Kenney. A nice straight right hand lands for Cruz, but the movement was less and less for Cruz.

A nice straight left lands for Casey Kenney. Casey Kenney was starting to find his range in the second and another powerful leg kick lands. A nice combination lands for Casey Kenney and some serious momentum was building for Kenney in the second.

Cruz lands a nice body shot then throws a shot up top. Kenney lands another powerful leg kick and Cruz was hurting. Cruz then explodes forward and hits Kenney clean with a few big shots.

Cruz lands a few more shots, but Kenney’s pressure and leg kicks were bothering Cruz. A nice clean combination lands for Kenney. The second round comes to a close and I think this is 1-1 after two at UFC 259.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 259 and this fight was up for grabs. The two men touch gloves and Kenney started back with the pressure. Cruz opens the striking with a few kicks and he wings some big punches.

The former champion was trying hard for the takedown. Kenney tries to get a guillotine choke, but Cruz was able to get side control which prevented the choke from getting in too deep. Cruz was stacking Kenney nicely and had good top control.

Cruz slips his head up and Kenney gets right back up. Halfway through the round and this is still anyone’s fight. A clean 1-2 lands for Dominick Cruz. Kenney lands a couple of clean shots, but he was looking a little tired.

However, Kenney was pushing forward like a zombie. A few big shots land for Kenney and he tries for a takedown. A big straight left lands for Kenney. Cruz then pushes forward with his own big combination.

Both men were looking tired and both were swinging big. Kenney lands a few big shots then tries for a takedown. Cruz lands a big knee to the body. Dominick Cruz lands a big takedown with thirty seconds left. The round comes to a close and Dominick Cruz should get the win at UFC 259.

Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

UFC 259 Preview: Dominick Cruz – Casey Kenney

In the featured prelim of UFC 259, we will see the return of arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. Former world champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3) will be making his return against up and comer, Casey Kenney (16-2-1).

For Dominick Cruz, this will be the second time that he’s fought in the last 12 months. However, those two fights were his only two fights since December of 2016. Injuries have completely derailed the career of Cruz.

In 2011, Dominick Cruz was the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion. He had just defended the title twice before the injury bug started to bite him. Since in 2012, Dominick Cruz has only fought five times. In eight years, we have only seen Cruz five times inside the octagon.

Yes, during those five fights he came back and won a UFC title as well as defend it. However, the inactivity has just killed Cruz’s career. Cruz is now 35 years old, and he’s looking to get back on track with a win on Saturday night, but it won’t be easy.

Casey Kenney has been very impressive since his signing with the UFC. Since making the jump from LFA, Kenney is 5-1 with his lone loss coming against Merab Dvalishvili who just outwrestled him for fifteen minutes.

Kenney will enter the featured prelim on Saturday having won three fights in a row. He is just outside of the top fifteen, but if he wins against Dominick Cruz, you should expect him to be in the UFC rankings next week.

UFC 259 Prediction

To me, this is one of the more difficult fights to predict when it comes to the UFC 259 lineup. The reason it’s so difficult is the question marks surrounding Dominick Cruz. I really don’t know what to expect from him on Saturday night.

Is Dominick Cruz going to look like The Dominator of the past, or is he going to look like a shell of his former self? These are questions that we need answers to. When Cruz is on, he’s one of the most difficult fighters to face in the entire UFC.

Cruz’s footwork and technique are so unique and make him very challenging to prepare for. He has great wrestling defense and his awkward movement and striking are incredibly effective when he’s on point.

Casey Kenney has very good wrestling and he’s got a lot of pop in his shots. His kicks are also very good and that could be key for him at UFC 259. With Dominick Cruz, you have to attack his legs and his movement.

For Casey Kenney to be successful on Saturday night, he has to invest in the leg kicks early. If you take away Cruz’s movement, he becomes much more beatable. However, if Kenney can’t get going downhill with those kicks, he might struggle to get his offense going.

With the movement and style of Cruz, it’s appealing to judges because there is so much activity to watch. With that said, Kenney is going to have to decisively win rounds in this one.

Despite the question marks surrounding Cruz, I think he’s going to be able to do enough to earn a decision in the judges eyes at UFC 259. However, if Cruz shows up anything less than close to his best, than he’s in for another loss.

Prediction: Dominick Cruz by Unanimous Decision

Heading into UFC 259, what should we expect from Dominick Cruz?

It’s hard to argue that the greatest bantamweight in UFC history is Dominick Cruz (22-3). Had it not been for injuries, Cruz might have been in the conversation as one of the greatest of all time regardless of weight class.

However, injuries have stolen away the second half of Dominick Cruz’s career. Back in 2010, Cruz became the UFC bantamweight champion after the promotion absorbed the fighters from the WEC.

Cruz jumped out of the gate and defended his title twice in 2011 against Urijah Faber and Demetrious Johnson. However, that’s where everything started going down hill. A number of knee injuries kept Cruz out of the octagon until 2014.

The UFC‘s bantamweight division moved on without Cruz and Cruz returned to face Takeya Mizugaki. Cruz looked better than ever finishing him in 61 seconds. However, another round of knee injuries kept Cruz out for another year.

That’s when Cruz returned to face TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw was the new bantamweight champion and Cruz was able to win a split decision to once again become UFC champion. After that win, Cruz would defeat Urijah Faber in his first title defense.

Cruz was then set to defend his title against Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt handed Cruz his first career loss in the bantamweight division. After that, injuries kept Cruz out again for more than three years.

What’s left for Cruz in the UFC?

Last year, the UFC was set to have Henry Cejudo defend the bantamweight title against Jose Aldo. However, the pandemic limited Aldo’s ability to travel and he wasn’t able to make it. Cruz was in a position where he could step up and take the fight.

Dominick Cruz hadn’t fought since December of 2016, but he was ready to go for the UFC title once again. However, he was soundly defeated and finished by Henry Cejudo in the second round.

Now, I believe that inactivity and the lack of a full camp played a role in how one-sided the fight was. After that fight, I figured Cruz would walk away from the sport. However, that was not the case at all.

Many, including myself, were shocked to see Cruz take a fight against up and comer, Casey Kenney (16-2-1). Kenny is looked at as a promising prospect, but he’s not even inside the top 15. However, he has won three fights in a row.

Cruz took this fight at UFC 259 because he wants to climb the ladder again. To him, Kenney is a really good fighter on a winning streak and for Cruz it’s like a reset. If he wins, he could be looking at another run. However, if Cruz loses, we will likely see him walk away for good.

After a brutal knockout loss at UFC Vegas 18, what’s next for Frankie Edgar?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 18, we saw a potential title eliminator in the co-main event of the evening. Former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-9-1), took on Cory Sandhagen (14-2). The winner was likely going to get the next shot at the UFC bantamweight title.

Leading up to the fight, I really liked Frankie Edgar in this matchup. While there was obviously a lot of hype surrounding Sandhagen, I liked the pace and pressure that Edgar was going to bring. I especially liked that style in the smaller cage. In the end, I thought he could get a decision win at UFC Vegas 18.

Boy, was I wrong about that one. Edgar did immediately start the fight by pressuring Sandhagen. With the smaller cage, it was going to be easier for Edgar to close the gap on the much taller Sandhagen. Sandhagen does his best work from distance.

Just 28 seconds into the first round, Sandhagen launched into the air with a beautiful flying knee as Edgar came in. The knee landed flush on the chin of Edgar and he was out cold. The former UFC champion fell face first in brutal fashion as Sandhagen celebrated his beautiful knockout win.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 18?

After years of competing at lightweight and featherweight, Frankie Edgar appears to be in his most natural weight class at bantamweight. While he was just one win away from a title shot, this is a brutal loss that’ll be tough to come back from.

Edgar has been finished by strikes before, but nothing quite like what happened at UFC Vegas 18. We’ve never seen him knocked out in that fashion. The former UFC champion turns 40 this year, and this is not what he needed to happen.

So what does the UFC do with Edgar next? I can’t see Edgar going out like that and I believe he will keep fighting despite the loss. Personally, the fight I would love to see him in next is a matchup with former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3).

Cruz makes his return to the UFC next month when he takes on rising contender, Casey Kenney (16-2-1). Should Cruz get the win there, I think it would be a great fight for the promotion to make. Perhaps a main event on a Fight Night over the summer.

Whoever would win that fight would be in a position for a final run towards a UFC title. While the loser might be ready to walk away from the sport. There are other options, but this is my favorite for The Answer.

State of the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021

One of the divisions that has really flipped in 2020 is the UFC‘s bantamweight division. I’m not sure anyone saw the division going the way that it did when the year started. Granted, I don’t think anything about 2020 went as planned.

When the year started, Henry Cejudo (16-2) was the reigning UFC bantamweight king. He was angling for a fight with former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (29-7), after Aldo lost by split decision to Marlon Moraes.

Cejudo and the UFC brass felt that Aldo won the fight. The two men were scheduled to fight in May. However, after the pandemic hit, Aldo was not able to travel for UFC 249 to take on Cejudo.

That’s when former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3), stepped to the plate. Cruz had been out since 2016, but in that fight he lost his world title. The two men met at UFC 249.

That night, Cejudo finished Cruz in the second round then retired after the fight. The promotion decided to give Aldo a title shot after he was promised one and paired him against top contender, Petr Yan (16-1) for the vacant title.

At UFC 251 on Fight Island, Yan and Aldo met for the bantamweight championship. Aldo had some good moments early, however, Yan took over late. Ultimately, Yan finished Aldo in the fifth round to become bantamweight champion.

UFC’s Bantamweight Division in 2021

We already know the first title fight, we just don’t know when. Yan was supposed to defend his title against Aljamain Sterling (19-3) at UFC 256. However, Yan had to pull out for undisclosed reasons. That fight is supposed to be setup early in 2021.

An interesting wrinkle in the division is the return of former champion, TJ Dillashaw (16-4). Dillashaw never lost his UFC title in the ring, but his suspension forced him to be stripped of the 135 pound title.

Dillashaw’s two-year suspension is up in January and he’s looking to get right back in the mix. Jose Aldo is one of the men that wants a shot at Dillashaw. Aldo is coming off of a big win against Chito Vera at UFC Vegas 17. 

The two former UFC champions could make for a very compelling matchup. Another key matchup early in the year is the matchup between Cory Sandhagen (13-2) and former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar (24-8-1).

That matchup on February 6th might be a title eliminator. Rob Font (18-4) might be the one contender to watch in 2021. Font just knocked out Marlon Moraes at UFC Vegas 17. His hands looked incredibly crisp and he’s busted into the top five at bantamweight.

The UFC‘s bantamweight division is absolutely stacked. I didn’t even mention the matchup between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera that’s booked on January 20th. So many incredible matchups in that division.

Petr Yan looks like a world-beater. However, his division is full of guys who are waiting to take away that crown. So many interesting storylines and potential matchups surround the UFC’s bantamweight division entering 2021.

Will we see Henry Cejudo return to the UFC in 2021?

One of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC walked away from the sport in his prime in 2020. That fighter would be the former two-division world champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, Henry Cejudo (16-2).

We last saw Henry Cejudo compete at UFC 249 where he defended his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz. Cejudo executed a perfect game plan that night and went on to finish Cruz in the second round to retain his title.

After the fight was over, Cejudo was interviewed by Joe Rogan inside the octagon. It was at that moment where the two-division UFC champion announced that he would be walking away from the sport at 33 years old.

It was a shocking announcement for most considering Cejudo’s stature in the sport. Cejudo had just capped off a four-fight run where he defeated Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw, Marlon Moraes, and Dominick Cruz in UFC title fights.

“Triple C” appeared to be just starting out his reign of dominance as he decided to walk away. However, it wasn’t the first time Cejudo walked away on top. He also walked away from wrestling after winning his gold medal.

Yet, there has been rumblings about Cejudo’s desire to compete in the UFC again. Cejudo has stayed extremely active online calling fighters out and expressing his desire to fight. Most recently, Cejudo posted a music video talking about it being his next walkout song. 

Will Cejudo return to the UFC?

Earlier this year, Cejudo appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience where he said he would love to come out of retirement if the fight was right. The one fight he said he wanted was Alexander Volkanovski.

The UFC‘s featherweight champion is tentatively scheduled to defend his title against Brian Ortega in Q1 2021. However, Cejudo talked about his desire to capture a title in a third weight class which has never been done in the UFC.

In my personal opinion, I think there’s too many opportunities inside the cage for Cejudo to stay away. This upcoming year Cejudo will just be turning 34 years old. There are many fights that could bring the former champion out of retirement.

A featherweight title fight could bring him out but also a fight with UFC flyweight champion, Deiveson Figueiredo, could bring him out of retirement. I would put the odds at 50/50 that we see Cejudo in 2021. The odds are even higher for seeing him to return to the UFC at some point.

UFC books Dominick Cruz – Casey Kenney

The former UFC bantamweight champion is back. Today, MMA Junkie reported that the promotion is booking Dominick Cruz (22-3) against Casey Kenney (16-2-1) in March. The fight will take place at the proposed UFC 259 PPV.

This news came out of no where and is honestly a tad stunning. After Dominick Cruz lost to Henry Cejudo back at UFC 249, it wasn’t clear on if he was going to continue to fight. Cruz has made a career for himself at the broadcast table.

However, it appears that the former UFC champion is still wanting to keep his fighting career alive. Cruz is one of the best bantamweights of all time, however, his career has been famously derailed by injuries.

Due to injuries, Cruz has only fought five times in the last nine years. Prior to his title fight at UFC 249 against Cejudo, Cruz had been out for three and a half years. He will enter the cage on a two-fight losing streak.

Cruz lost his UFC title to Cody Garbrandt back in December of 2016. That night, Cruz seemed just a step behind Garbrandt. Following that loss, injuries kept him out until the Cejudo fight. Cruz was finished in the second round by Triple C.

UFC 259 Bantamweight Clash

To be honest, I’m a tad surprised by the opponent choice for Dominick Cruz. Sure, Cruz has lost two in a row and has been out of the cage a lot, but I was still expecting a more high profile opponent for him in his next fight.

Casey Kenney is getting a massive opportunity at UFC 259 taking on the former champion. Kenney is 5-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming to Merab Dvalishvili back in February. He’s won three straight to close out 2020.

Despite the winning streak, Kenney still finds himself outside of the UFC‘s top 15. However, if he’s able to pickup a win over Dominick Cruz, that would be a massive bump for his career. Should be a fun one when March rolls around.