UFC champ Alexandre Pantoja would entertain bantamweight ‘just for Sean O’Malley’

UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja is still interested in fighting Sean O'Malley.

Pantoja and bantamweight champion O’Malley went back-and-forth online this past September about a sparring session in 2017, with each fighter having his own version of the story.

Pantoja (27-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC) defends his flyweight title against Steve Erceg (12-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in the UFC 301 main event May 4 in Rio. If he gets past Erceg, Pantoja is open to moving up to challenge O’Malley (18-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC).

“I can fight at 135, definitely,” Pantoja told MMA Junkie. “But everybody knows I’m small. I’m not too big, you know. I’m really a flyweight guy, and I’m just thinking about going to the bantamweight to fight with O’Malley. That’s a good history I have with him.”

Pantoja praised O’Malley for his shutout of Marlon Vera at UFC 299. He clarified that moving up to 135 pounds would solely be for a fight with O’Malley.

“He looked perfect,” Pantoja said of O’Malley. “How ‘Chito’ keeps fighting at that pace, that’s crazy, you know. The knees O’Malley throwing at ‘Chito,’ ‘Chito’ is very tough guy, brother. He’s tough. He wants to fight, but he don’t find the range with O’Malley.

“I find his reach when I trained with O’Malley. It’s not a big problem for me. …Maybe after the second title defense I’m very open for that opportunity, but just for O’Malley. I don’t want to go through the bantamweight and fight with some Umar Nurmagomedov.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 301.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie