Aljamain Sterling's recent victory at Polaris 25 on Saturday didn't diminish his desire for a rematch with Sean O’Malley. The former UFC bantamweight champion showcased his skills in a grappling match against Mike Grundy, securing a decision win after a tenacious display of takedowns and grappling maneuvers.
Sterling's triumph over Grundy marked his return to the win column, following his previous loss to O’Malley at UFC 292. Despite his success in the grappling match, Sterling wasted no time redirecting his focus back to O’Malley, delivering a passionate message to the new UFC bantamweight champion.
"I have a message for Mr. Suga T***, because in my eyes, he's still that," Sterling declared to the crowd in Wales. "Hey, give me my rematch or fight Merab [Dvalishvili]. It's as simple as that."
Sterling urged O’Malley to stop avoiding top contenders and show the qualities of a true champion by facing the best of the best. He emphasized that he had done the same and now it was O’Malley's turn to step up.
Having broken the record for the most bantamweight title defenses in UFC history with three consecutive wins, Sterling has been persistently vocal about his desire for a rematch against O’Malley. If an immediate rematch isn't granted, Sterling hopes that his teammate and friend, Merab Dvalishvili, will receive the opportunity instead.
Dvalishvili boasts an impressive nine-fight win streak in the division, including victories over former UFC champion Petr Yan and Jose Aldo.
Following his triumph over Sterling in August, O’Malley expressed his own desire for a rematch against Chito Vera, the sole blemish on his record after their clash in 2020. O’Malley aimed for a December date, but with the year-end UFC 296 card already featuring two title fights, it's probable that the new bantamweight champion will have to wait until 2024 to compete again.
While O’Malley's next opponent remains uncertain, Sterling wants to be part of the discussion, hoping for a rematch or for Dvalishvili to finally get his long-awaited shot at becoming the UFC champion.