Jon Anik believes No. 2 ranked bantamweight contender ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley would make an intriguing opponent for Georges St-Pierre, who will make his triumphant return to the mat later this year.
‘Rush’ will head back into the world of combat sports this winter as the general consensus welterweight GOAT headlines a UFC Fight Pass Invitational event on December 14. GSP is slated to compete in a no-gi jiu-jitsu match, but thus far no opponent has been announced. Sharing his thoughts on who could step into the spotlight with St-Pierre, UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik suggested none other than 135-pound fan favorite Sean O’Malley.
“There are a lot of willing and able grapplers out there. I don’t know – maybe ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley,” Anik told reporters Thursday on the UFC Hall of Fame red carpet. “How about that? He’s competed before, Quintet Ultra against Gilbert Melendez. It was very competitive, a little bit of a size discrepancy. ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley, Georges St-Pierre, under the lights in December, UFC Fight Pass Invitational, let’s go!”
Georges St-Pierre dominated the welterweight division for nearly a decade, capturing the 170-pound crown on two separate occasions, and is a one-time interim titleholder. Walking away from the sport in 2013 following a split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, GSP returned four years later to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship. St-Pierre scored a third-round submission over ‘The Count’ to become a two-division UFC titleholder. ‘Rush’ retired shortly after, vacating the title and riding off into the sunset as one of the most celebrated fighters in all of mixed martial arts.
Georges St-Pierre says Khabib Nurmagomedov, Kamaru Usman and Anderson Silva “are all very attractive” as potential opponents for his upcoming grappling match. pic.twitter.com/X7T8iGxtuT
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 7, 2023
Sean O’Malley is Gearing Up for His First UFC Title Opportunity
Currently, GSP’s proposed opponent, Sean O’Malley, is preparing for his first world title opportunity as he is set to square off with reigning bantamweight world champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292. Emanating from TD Garden in Boston, Mass., the ‘Funk Master’ will make a relatively quick turnaround after scoring a closely contested split decision against Henry Cejudo in May.
“I am a native Bostonian, so it’s hard for me to not center on Aug. 19, UFC 292 in Boston, Massachusetts,” Anik continued. “There’s so many different interesting storylines leading into that pay-per-view, chief among them, the (bantamweight) champion Aljamain Sterling is still battling injuries. I saw him at the UFC PI (Wednesday) and this is not at all happening on his terms. It’s just a very interesting storyline leading up to that main event. So I do have my eyes on UFC 292. (And) I think we’re all fascinated to see exactly what the headlining act is going to be for UFC 293 in Sydney” (h/t Yahoo! News).
Sean O’Malley earned his shot at the bantamweight title following his own split-decision win over former champion Petr Yan at UFC 280 last year.