Boston, MA — Following UFC 292, UFC President Dana White believes that newly crowned bantamweight champ Sean O’Malley has already been cemented as a bonafide star.
O’Malley knocked out Aljamain Sterling in the second round of their title fight, halting the now-former champ’s record-setting nine-fight win streak in its tracks. The crowd in attendance was most certainly riding the “Sugar Show” train, with chants of “f*ck you Aljo!” and “Sean O’Malley” breaking out throughout the fight at the TD Garden in Boston.
“We broke the all-time gate record here. Bruce Springsteen just played here and did $5 million. We did over $7 million. The Boston Garden,” White exclaimed following the event. “We’re the biggest thing other than— the biggest f*cking sports town on earth — other than their team that plays here, we’re the biggest thing that’s ever been here. So what does that tell you about O’Malley?”
“This is also the biggest bantamweight championship ever fight on Pay-Per-View, globally. It broke the record. Biggest bantamweight championship fight ever. I’m sure you saw the crowd at the end. O’Malley isn’t going to be a star. He is a star.”
The past couple of years have felt like a bridge period for the UFC, with a lack of true star power the culprit. Ronda Rousey is long gone, so too is Georges St-Pierre. Conor McGregor has been out over two years due to injury, while Jon Jones only returned earlier this year after taking an extended hiatus.
The arrival of Sean O’Malley to the top of the bantamweight division, one of the UFC’s hottest weight classes of late, could not have come at a more opportune time. And they might just have another budding star on their hands in Ian Machado Garry. The Irish welterweight picked apart Neil Magny on Saturday, devastating the most experienced fighter in the division with perfectly placed leg kicks.
Following the fight, Garry called out Stephen Thompson. It doesn’t appear it’s going to happen. “Wonderboy turned the fight down tonight,” revealed White.
Like McGregor before him, it appears there’s a push to bring Garry to Dublin. A fight in front of the Irish faithful would be huge, but White let slip that it wasn’t time just yet.
“No. Not yet. One more move, then we go to Dublin,” revealed White, who alluded to having a deal in place with the 25-year old. Later, he explained that “I do want Ian to go to Dublin, just not next. Madison Square Garden, he’s got to go there first.”
“There’s a blueprint for this sh*t, and we’ve got it.”
One fighter White doesn’t want to see back is Chris Weidman. The former middleweight champ returned from two years out of action at UFC 292, stepping into the cage for the first time since breaking his leg in a fight with Uriah Hall. Things didn’t go well for “The All-American,” who survived three rounds with Brad Tavares, but took damage to both legs.
“Retire,” White said when asked about what he’d tell Weidman if he asked for another fight. “I love Chris Weidman. I love him, I love his family, and I think he should retire.”
Per White, Weidman’s post-fight medical exam showed he had blown either his MCL or ACL. “The guy’s coming back from a gruesome injury. Father time’s not our friend at all, but definitely if you’re a professional athlete, it’s… First of all, depending on the damage to the knee, you’re talking another year.”
As for the UFC’s rumored return to Atlantic City, New Jersey, White told Cageside Press that he wasn’t sure whether it would happen this year. “I don’t know. I hope so.”
Watch the full UFC 292 post-fight press conference with Dana White above.