Sean O’Malley has shared his thoughts on how Zabit Magomedsharipov might fair in the UFC’s current featherweight division following reports that the retired fighter was apparently offered an immediate title shot if he returned to competition.
A former ACB featherweight champion, Magomedsharipov joined the UFC in 2017 and quickly earned four victories with three of those wins coming via submission. The 32-year-old took a significant step up in competition in 2019 to face longtime UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens at UFC 235, but the Russian passed that test by winning a unanimous decision.
A win over Calvin Kattar in his first UFC main event had Magomedsharipov knocking on the door of a possible UFC title shot, however an extended layoff led into a surprise announcement in 2022 that he’d decided to retire and pursue a career in medicine.
Sean O’Malley Considers Featherweight Matchups For Zabit Magomedsharipov
Magomedsharipov recently claimed that the UFC offered him a title shot if he decided to come out of retirement, which O’Malley discussed on his YouTube channel with his brother Daniel.
Magomedsharipov was a rising star in the UFC prior to his sudden retirement. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)
“So they offered Zabit an immediate title shot coming in,” O’Malley said. “I mean he’s been out for years. Massive – well he was on his way to be a massive superstar. He was definitely a star in the UFC, very, very skilled, fun. Very entertaining but super f***ing technical and skilled. I mean him versus – God, even him [against] Volkanovski, Volkanovski is just so f***ing good dude…[Yair Rodriguez] would have been an interesting fight.”
Rodriguez was scheduled to meet Magomedsharipov in 2020 before “El Pantera” fractured his ankle, and that ended up being the last time the Russian was booked to fight prior to his eventual retirement.
Few fans would argue if the 32-year-old did decide to come out of retirement and rejoin the UFC’s stacked featherweight division, but an immediate title shot does sound like it might have been a difficult way to return. The weight class has been dominated by Alexander Volkanovski since 2019, and “The Great” recently defended his belt for a fifth time when he stopped Rodriguez at UFC 290.
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