UFC bantamweight Sean O’Malley believes that he is “the most talked-about guy in the division” and that he has already caught the attention of the new champion, Petr Yan.
The 25-year-old is coming off two first-round finishes and holds an undefeated record of 12-0. Along with his fighting skills, O’Malley has a personality that already seen him become one of the most popular fighters on the UFC roster.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, O’Malley gave his thoughts on the current UFC bantamweight scene and the new champion.
“I’m for sure easily the most talked-about guy in the division,” O’Malley said. “I’m talking a lot of smack about Petr [Yan], Cody [Garbrandt], Henry [Cejudo], all these dudes, and they’re all replying. They all know that’s a realistic fight in the future. They’re not taking it as a joke. They know it’s serious business.
“I’m clearly in Petr’s head, or Pete-R, whatever you want to call him. I’m clearly in his head. He’s thinking about me. I think he’s dreaming about me, waking up and asking someone to help him tweet something.”
Although O’Malley continued to take a dig at his rivals, he claimed that he strictly considers all the trash-talking as business and nothing personal.
“Nothing’s personal,” he said. “These guys say anything, they can do anything, say anything – nothing’s going to be personal. I do look at the whole, even the social media tweets, as business. Short little people like Petr and Cody and Henry have short man syndrome, and they get angry at things and it’s personal.
“For me, it’s always going to be business. I think Conor [McGregor] was really good at that until the Khabib [Nurmagomedov] fight. I feel like that got too personal, and it played games with him. I definitely learned from that experience with Conor versus Khabib, I can’t let it get personal. I learn from everyone always, especially guys like Chael [Sonnen], Conor, guys that know how to talk and sell fights.”
After ‘Sugar’ Sean claimed that he would knockout Cody Garbrandt, UFC president Dana White responded by saying that O’Malley needs a couple of more fights in order to challenge ‘No Love’.
However, O’Malley views this as a business move by the UFC and believes that they want him to stay busy without facing a lack of opponents.
“Even Dana White, he didn’t say I wasn’t ready for Cody,” O’Malley explained. “He acknowledged that, ‘Oh if he beats Cody, we only have so many options, he’s top-five already, he only can fight four other people.’ I think the UFC wants me active right now. What I take away from that is they don’t want me to limit my options of opponents.
“I go out there and knockout Cody in the first round, now I’m potentially fighting a couple times a year rather than taking these guys. Like, I don’t even think ‘Chito’ (Marlon Vera) is ranked. That’s who I plan on fighting next in my head, and then I have a ton of options after that. I think it’s smart in the UFC’s business-wise not to give me a guy in the top-five, or even a top-ten guy right now because it limits the options of who I can fight next.”
O’Malley is now scheduled to face Marlon Vera at UFC 252 next month, which will be his third fight this year.
“When I’m healthy, like I am now, I enjoy fighting multiple times,” he explained. “I’m excited to fight in August. That’s what I hear when I hear them say that. It’s not that I’m not ready.
“I think everyone that understands fighting at a technical level, understands that I’m ready for these top dudes. But they just don’t want to push because then I limit my options of who I can fight. [But] I’m super confident against anybody in the division.”
The striking specialist is certainly keen on making up for the two years he spent away from the Octagon and made it clear that he wants to stay active.
“I got a lot of s*** being out for those two years,” O’Malley said. “People saying, ‘Do you even fight anymore? Why don’t you fight?’ I like fighting, I like being active. I’ve got over 30 fights, and I’ve been doing this for about ten years now. So I like staying active.”
Do you think Sean O’Malley is a serious contender in the UFC bantamweight division?