UFC bantamweight contender, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera has claimed that recent big-winner, the polarizing, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley rejected the opportunity to attempt to avenge his sole professional loss in a rematch of their UFC 252 co-main event last August.
Clashing in the event’s co-headliner beneath the heavyweight title trilogy between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, O’Malley entered the tie as an undefeated professional, fast-tracking his way to the top-tier of the bantamweight ranks via a pair of notable knockout wins over both Jose Alberto Quinonez and former WEC bantamweight champion, Eddie Wineland earlier in the year.
Vera, who entered the matchup undefeated in his last five walks at 135-pounds managed to spring quite a surprising upset win over O’Malley in the opening round — finishing the Montana native with ground strikes in the final twenty seconds of the frame.
Immediately drawing criticism following the loss, O’Malley maintained that he was still “mentally undefeated” despite the result, focusing on an earlier round calf kick from Vera which. according to O’Malley landed on his peroneal nerve, resulting in his loss of mobility for the remainder of the matchup.
Off the back of the high-profile win, Team Oyama mainstay, Vera featured at UFC Vegas 17 in December opposite former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo who was coming off a vacant bantamweight title challenge defeat to former titleholder, Petr Yan. Failing to deal with the speed and counters, as well as the later round grappling from the Manaus favourite, Vera dropped a unanimous decision loss.
Returning for the first time since his loss to Vera in August, O’Malley featured at UFC 260 at the end of March — displaying eye-catching counter striking against Brazilian Muay Thai ace, Thomas Almeida, O’Malley dropped the Brazilian with a massive high-kick — attempting a walk-off knockout prior to an eventual stoppage in the third frame via a huge one-punch ground strike.
Replying to a user on his official Twitter, Ecuadorian finisher, Vera claimed that he was offered a rematch against O’Malley — which he accepted, however, according to him, O’Malley refused the opportunity to re-run their rivalry.
“He (Sean O’Malley) declined,” Vera wrote. “I got offered (the rematch), (I) said ‘yes’ and silence from him.“
Immediately following his victory over Almeida, speculation began to mount in regards to a potential pairing of O’Malley and former two-time bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz — who recently returned to the winner’s enclosure at UFC 259 in March against Casey Kenney, scoring a split decision victory.
Denying claims from former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight championship challenger, Chael Sonnen that he had asked for a matchup with O’Malley, Cruz maintained that Sonnen had attempted to promote the fight despite never voicing his own interest in the bout.