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Aljamain Sterling and Sean O'Malley trade jabs ahead of UFC 292 showdown

Both UFC Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and challenger Sean O'Malley talked a big game ahead of this weekend's UFC 292.

The UFC's bantamweight division is primed for an overhaul on Satirday night on Boston.
First out of the blocks, Sterling took aim at O'Malley's colourful hype train. While the striker is 16-1 with 11 knockout wins, Sterling claims his hype was gained off the back of rapper Snoop Dogg - who was involved in the Contender Series back in 2017 - and questioned the calibre of his opponents.

"I think if anyone had the same Snoop Dogg promoting their fight after coming off the Contender Series, I think anyone could have become a superstar like that overnight because it's hype," said the division champion, as per MMA Junkie.

"It's hype. Especially when you're going out there fighting other guys that should not be in the cage with you, it's easy to stack up the resume and get these highlights.
"I'm finishing guys in the top 15. There's a significant difference doing that against caliber opponents vs. guys who aren't in the show any more. There's a reason they're not in the show any more. I'm not saying that they can't get back. I'm just calling the facts how it is. The 'it-factor,' I don't know what it is. I don't get it.
"He has a flashy style in the sense he gets knockouts. For the casual fans, that's cool. But for the hardcore fans who actually tune in and watch the sport, I think they're smart enough to understand what's what and kind of pick and choose. Like, yeah, he's had an easier path, and he did what he was supposed to do with the competition in front of him."
And that's precisely it, because if you're an O'Malley fan, you'll be shouting from the rooftops that hype doesn't win fights.
But either way you cut it, with Sterling being on a nine-fight win streak and an exceptional fighting résumé, he is the favourite to defend his belt for a record-fourth time.
And this is not lost on O'Malley...
"I don't really care what people say... it doesn't really affect me," said the 28-year-old.
"I kind of like being the underdog, being doubted. Going into this fight, I don't have much pressure. He's the bantamweight GOAT. He's on a nine-fight winning streak and he's saying I haven't earned the shot. How stupid will he looked when I go out there and knock him out, not even have earned being in that position, and putting his lights out. It makes him look real stupid."
It's no secret that UFC overlord Dana White has his favourites and O'Malley could very well top that list. As a brand, the bling-wearing, Lamborghini-driving, pot-smoking, tatted-up fighter is something that brings eyes to the UFC.
Now, almost by design, the scene is now set for their next bantamweight champion as Sterling has made it clear he is moving up a division after Saturday.
As a result, O'Malley sees himself in win-win situation.
"If I go out there and knock him out and he goes up to 145, boom, I carry on what he was doing in the division, taking people out," added the Montana native.
"If he goes out there and wins and moves up to 145, I'm the last person to fight for the belt. I'm the champ either way. I like this situation. It's a win-win either way."
READ MORE: UFC champion Israel Adesanya to defend title against Sean Strickland

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