Sean O’Malley seems to have all the ingredients to fight the upper echelon of contenders in the UFC’s bantamweight division, but “Sugar” doesn’t see the benefit of fighting ranked opponents if he’s not going to be paid more.
O’Malley, who is one of the more promising young names on the UFC roster today, has built quite the following among MMA fans. With crisp striking, a knack for finishing fights, and one hell of a social media game, O’Malley is on the fast track to stardom. The only thing missing is key wins over top bantamweights that will ultimately push him towards a title shot.
While O’Malley was recently linked to a potential clash with former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar later this year it’s unknown at this time if he’s going to accept that fight. Given the fact that he will be paid the same amount of money for fighting Edgar or someone like Kris Moutinho, who O’Malley defeated via TKO back at UFC 264 (see it HERE), “Sugar” doesn’t see the benefit of fighting the tougher guys.
“Next fight, a lot of people want me to fight someone ranked,” said O’Malley during a recent appearance on the “No Jumper” podcast (h/t MMA Junkie). “They wanted me to fight someone ranked last fight. I was supposed to fight Louis Smolka (at UFC 264). For me, I have a contract to fight a certain amount of fights, and I’m gonna get paid a certain amount of money whether I fight Louis Smolka, the dude I was supposed to fight, or I fight Petr Yan, the No. 1 bantamweight in the UFC. I get paid the same. I’m gonna fight this dude (who is lower). And I’m going to fight this dude on a Conor McGregor pay-per-view.
“Chael Sonnen always says fight the worst dude on the highest part of the card. A lot of bantamweights, and just people in the UFC, they definitely hate, and it comes from jealousy. I’m getting way more eye balls than them. I perform in there. You can go and watch some of these guys perform, and you literally pick up your phone, start surfing Instagram, you just don’t give a f*ck what they’re doing.”
O’Malley, who is 6-1 since making his Octagon debut back in 2016, may have a point. However, if he ever wants to make bigger paydays and secure a more lucrative contract his next time around he’s going to have to start defeating guys ranked above him. It’s been nice to see “Sugar” knock off the Eddie Winelands and Thomas Almeidas of the division, but that’s only going to take O’Malley so far.
We’ll have to see if UFC president Dana White can work his magic and get O’Malley back on track to ascend the 135-pound ladder. He may not be ready for a showdown with Edgar, but that’s one hell of a matchup any fight fan will want to see.