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White: Sean O’Malley not special like Khamzat Chimaev, won’t get ranked opponents

UFC 250: Wineland v O’Malley Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC bantamweight sensation Sean O’Malley is 14-1 as a professional MMA fighter, 6-1 inside the Octagon with four knockouts, and lands 8.37 significant strikes per minute. That’s not just the highest in the bantamweight division, it’s the highest in the entire organization.

So too, is O’Malley’s 4.94 striking differential.

But don’t expect “Sugar” to be fighting a ranked opponent anytime soon. That’s according to promotion president Dana White, who believes O’Malley is being handled no differently than any other young, up-and-coming fighter not named Khamzat Chimaev.

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After all, “Borz” is “special.”

“He’s not ready,” White told Barstool Sports about the future of O’Malley. “You guys wanna throw him to the wolves. You don’t move somebody that fast unless they’re Khamzat Chimaev. Khamzat is a guy you’ll feel comfortable moving that fast. I mean, O’Malley just lost a couple of fights ago, so talking about bigger fights and all that shit, this is a tough fight for him on Saturday night. In his last fight, he looked incredible, he put on a clinic.”

O’Malley lost to bantamweight veteran Marlon Vera at UFC 252 back in summer 2020, a finish that may (or may not) have been facilitated by a wonky foot. “Sugar” has since bounced back with back-to-back knockout victories.

“I think because O’Malley’s so popular and whatever, you’re always gonna have the critics that give this kid shit,” White continued. “He’s a tough kid, he’s fun, he’s exciting to watch. But he’s making his way the way you’re supposed to. You don’t just turn O’Malley around and throw him in there against killers. That’s not how it works.”

O’Malley, 27, will make his Octagon return against fellow bantamweight rising star Raulian Paiva on the UFC 269 pay-per-view (PPV) main card this Sat. night (Dec. 11, 2021) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To see who else is fighting at UFC 269 click here.