Sean O’Malley is once again returning to the Octagon spotlight later tonight (Sat., Dec. 11, 2021) at UFC 269 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, as “Suga” meets bantamweight upstart Raulian Paiva in main card action.
While this is another big opportunity for O’Malley to shine on a massive PPV card the surging contender can’t help but think about the future. O’Malley already considers himself the UFC’s “unranked champ,” but he wants to eventually take on the current UFC bantamweight champion, Petr Yan.
Yan, who has proven to be one of the very best fighters in the world today, has already defeated the likes of Jose Aldo, Cory Sandhagen, Uriah Faber, and Jimmie Rivera. He’s undoubtedly one of the hardest puzzles to solve in MMA right now, but O’Malley believes he’s a “different animal” than Yan’s past opponents and would give the champion a real run for his money.
“I want to fight Petr Yan. I know he’s the champ and you have to beat certain people to get that fight, but that’s a fight I want eventually,” O’Malley told ESPN earlier this week. “Even if he’s not the champ, that’s a fight I want. I think he’s one of the best pound-for-pound, top-three fighters in the world. I love his style, his boxing, the way he switches stances, covers up, his defense. He’s just so good. Every time he gets in there, it’s impressive. I like his humor, too. Obviously there’s a language barrier, but I enjoy his comedy on Twitter. He calls me a poodle. I find him very funny.”
“I can compete with Petr,” he added. “He has more high-level experience with guys – (Jose) Aldo, Cory (Sandhagen), Urijah (Faber). … But I think I’m just a different animal.”
O’Malley, who wants to get paid more before fighting ranked competition, will have his hands full later tonight at UFC 269 when he meets Paiva on the UFC’s final PPV card of 2021. If “Suga” is able to win that fight and push his current win streak to three he’d almost have to get a shot at the top 15 his next time out. A few more wins after that and the young bantamweight could find himself close to a title shot, and Yan.
What do you think, fight fans? Would O’Malley give Yan a run for his money?
Let us know in the comments below!
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 269 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.