Dana White: Sterling vs. O’Malley Possible for Boston, UFC Returning to Atlantic City

Newark, NJ — With Aljamain Sterling retaining his bantamweight title at UFC 288, the future of the division is set.

Already promised the next title shot after Henry Cejudo, Sean O’Malley has a date lined up with “Aljo” later this year. The pair faced off in the cage following Saturday’s event in Newark, with bad blood briefly boiling over.

“I’ve had better ideas than what I did tonight. Not a great idea,” UFC President Dana White admitted during the UFC 288 post-fight press conference, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “It was a bad idea.”

Face-off aside, White was able to give just a bit of info on when Sterling and O’Malley will throw down. “Probably August,” said White, asked about a timeline. That would line up with a potential UFC card in Boston. Asked if that would indeed be the location for Sterling vs. O’Malley, White again answered “Probably.”

There was no probably about a couple of upcoming UFC destinations. After hitting New Jersey this weekend, two more nearby locations will get visits later this year: New York City, and Atlantic City.

A New York card should come as no surprise, but the octagon has not been seen in Atlantic City since a 2018 Fight Night event headlined by Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza, with Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson as a co-headliner.

Regarding shows in and around the New Jersey area, “Atlantic City, MSG [Madison Square Garden], and other than that I don’t know right now, but those two for sure,” said White.

Dana White addressed a few other topics following UFC 288, including the continuing feud between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira, which does not seem to have abated since UFC 287 last month. Despite the ongoing beef, there’s no plan to keep Pereira at middleweight to finish out the MMA trilogy with “The Last Stylebender.”

“First of all, I didn’t even know that, but yeah, he’s going to 205,” said White. Pereira had announced a move to light heavyweight himself after losing to Adesanya. As for a debut date for Poatan at 205lbs, White didn’t have one. “No. None.”

There’s also no current main event for the UFC’s May 20 Fight Night, after Irene Aldana was moved to UFC 289, where she’ll face bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes. Raquel Pennington, Aldana’s original opponent, will serve as the backup for that fight.


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