O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) claimed the bantamweight title by knocking out Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292. Top contenders Merab Dvalishvili and Cory Sandhagen are options for his first title defense, as well as a Sterling rematch, but “The Sugar Show” wants Vera.
Vera (21-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC) knocked O’Malley out in August 2020, after a leg kick hit O’Malley in his peroneal nerve and stumbled him down. Vera got on top position and rained down elbows for the stoppage win, and O’Malley thinks he got lucky.
“Let’s make sure everyone knows, I’m not going after ‘Chito’ because he’s the biggest name, because he doesn’t carry much of a draw – no offense,” O’Malley said on the “Believe You Me” podcast. “He might be a bigger name than Merab or Cory. If you want to look at someone, how to not emulate your career or sell a fight or anything, follow Cory. He will do a great job at that.
“But the only reason the ‘Chito’ fight is such a big deal is just because of that controversial fight. That’s why that fight is big. Chael (Sonnen) did a poll yesterday and it was 50,000 people and 52 percent or whatever it was wanted ‘Chito.’ It’s like, we have got to give the people what they want.”
O’Malley explains that beating Vera is not enough. He wants to score an emphatic finish then go after a boxing match with Gervonta Davis.
“Ideally, I go out there – and I have to knock out ‘Chito,'” O’Malley said. “I can’t go win a decision. I can’t submit him. I can’t make it boring. I’ve got to go out there and knock out ‘Chito.’ Then I’m going to call out Gervonta. I know that fight sounds silly to a lot of people, but I go out there and knock out ‘Chito,’ I double in stardom. I am a massive star.”
O’Malley will receive pay-per-view points for his next fight, and that’s why he wants to fully capitalize on his position.
“Pay-per-view points next fight is very exciting, and that has a lot of reason why I want to fight ‘Chito,’ too,” O’Malley said. “If it’s just like, ‘All right, who’s the next guy in line by ranking?’ it’s Merab. I’m the champ. I want this. Let’s see what happens.
“I had a meeting with Dana (White) recently and he said he’s going to announce something very big in a few weeks, and I’ll leave it at that. But I know what I want, and I want the biggest fights. I want to make a lot of money. I want to do big pay-per-views.”