Daniel Cormier: Beating Sean O’Malley would make UFC champ Aljamain Sterling ‘undeniable’
Daniel Cormier believes Sean O'Malley is the name UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling needs on his resume to win over fans.
After retaining his belt against Henry Cejudo in this past Saturday’s UFC 288 headliner at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Sterling (23-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) now holds the record for most consecutive bantamweight title defenses in company history at three. “The Funkmaster” is on a nine-fight winning streak, the longest active streak in bantamweight history.
But despite his accolades, Cormier still views him as under-appreciated and believes O’Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1) is the opponent that could enhance his profile.
“If Aljo can get through Sean, (it) will elevate Aljo to a point where it’s undeniable,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” “Because for as good as Khabib (Nurmagomedov) was, he wasn’t the Khabib we know today with 30 million Instagram followers until he beat Conor McGregor.”
After the fight, Sterling called O’Malley into the cage, and the pair almost got physical when Sterling’s teammate, Merab Dvalishvili, wore O’Malley’s jacket that he threw off while facing off with Sterling.
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Cormier was able to read two things from O’Malley’s faceoff with Sterling.
“First off, Sean O’Malley seems very confident going into the fight with Aljamain Sterling and why wouldn’t he be when he hasn’t really been tested in that way outside of Petr Yan?” Cormier said. “Two things stood out, though: One, Sean O’Malley looked huge. Aljamain Sterling is one of the biggest guys in that weight class. He’s one of the tallest guys. … Secondly, he kept saying you’re gonna fight much sooner than you think you are.
“What is Sean O’Malley alluding to? What does he know that Aljo may not even know yet. He’s telling him he’s gonna be cutting the weight right now because they’re gonna fight again. I mean, are they gonna try to turn Aljamain Sterling around in three months, four months, to make him fight Sean O’Malley?”
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