Sean O’Malley believes Marlon Vera has finally earned the rematch.
O’Malley and Vera fought at UFC 252 in August of 2020, which was the co-main event, and a very intriguing bantamweight scrap. It was set to be the toughest test of his career and early on, O’Malley was looking good but Vera then started attacking O’Malley’s leg, and eventually, his leg gave out and the fight was stopped.
Since then, O’Malley has said he hasn’t lost as the injury was a fluke but after Vera beat Rob Font, ‘Suga’ says ‘Chito’ has earned the rematch.
“In the past, I said he’s got to earn a rematch, and I think he’s done that,” O’Malley said of Vera on The MMA Hour. “He went out there, lost to Jose Aldo, went out there and lost to Frankie Edgar and then beat him with, you know, he basically lost to Frankie. He lost 13 minutes of a fight.
“No, he did, he finished Frankie. With two more minutes in that fight, he loses that. But I will, I’ll say it, he knocked out Frankie,” O’Malley continued. “Then he went out there and he looked really good against Rob, he looked impressive against Rob, he looked like he definitely improved. I don’t know how he didn’t finish him — he dropped him about 13 times. So he’s definitely improved and he’s earned that rematch. People hate when I say that, but it’s true — he earned it.”
Sean O’Malley believes the rematch is a massive fight and one many fans want to see. He also thinks this was always the plan for the UFC to have them run it back once they both got some wins under their belts.
However, in order for the rematch to happen, O’Malley will need to beat Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 on July 2.
“It’s a big fight, and that’s what I’ve been saying since that fight happened,” O’Malley said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, you want a rematch?’ I’m like, ‘No, I want him to do what he’s done, which is build his résumé.’ Go out there, lose to Aldo, almost lose to Frankie, and then beat Rob, so he’s earned it. And I’ve got to go out there and beat Pedro.
“This is kind of what I expected. Not expected — I didn’t know if he was going to be able to go and win these fights. But this is what I was imagining if we did get a rematch, that we were both going to keep winning and winning and winning and then get there.”