O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) will defend his title in a rematch against Vera (23-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC) in March. Vera is the only fighter to beat O’Malley, kicking him in his peroneal nerve and finishing him by ground-and-pound TKO in August 2020. O’Malley is adamant that the loss was a fluke, but Cejudo thinks “Chito” poses problems for him.
“‘Chito’ Vera beats him just based on endurance,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “There’s another problematic thing that Sean is not accustomed to, is taller guys. It’s not like ‘Chito’s’ a giant either, but he’s about (5-foot-8), 5-9, while Sean O’Malley is 5-11.
“When you start getting people at the same height and they fought before, one of them already has seen him literally break. You can take him there again. If ‘Chito’ Vera can really up his defense and be able to just keep your hands up, there’s nothing that he can do to your legs. The only thing that he can really do, ‘Chito,’ is right here – your face or your body.”
Cejudo was also critical of O’Malley’s resume. His past two wins came over former champions Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling, but Cejudo isn’t sold on his overall body of work.
“A guy like Sean O’Malley hasn’t gone through the trenches,” Cejudo said. “Hasn’t really gone through the who’s who. Yeah, he got a controversial win, which still, I don’t believe he beat Yan and then he’s got one that he happened to throw a right hand and he caught Aljamain Sterling.
“Was it an early stoppage? Yeah, I’m not here to complain. What I’m saying is he hasn’t been through the trenches against really tough guys, and I do believe that ‘Chito,’ if he can just do the same game plan as he did his last fight and take out his legs, it’ll be the exact same outcome.”