Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is expected to get the next crack at the 135-pound title, just as soon as Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan settle their longstanding score at UFC 267 later this year.
Dillashaw, 35, expects to see a lot of the top names before, during, and after his latest run at the division strap, including former bantamweight kingpin Jose Aldo. But one person who will never see a championship main event is Sean O’Malley.
“I don’t think he’ll become champion, he’s got too many holes,” Dillashaw told Submission Radio. “And they’re just feeding him the right fights cause he’s a huge draw, right? For one, they pumped him up, they put him in the UFC pump-up machine. They can do that to pretty much anyone if you have a little bit of character, if you can talk whatsoever, be a little bit colourful, they’ll pump you up. And he’s done a good job promoting himself. He’s done a really good job of that.”
O’Malley punched his ticket to UFC superstardom with a thunderous knockout victory on Dana White’s “Contender Series” back in summer 2017. What followed was four straight wins and a stiff test against longtime veteran Marlon “Chito” Vera.
A test “Suga” failed in the very first round.
“When you see these guys that get pumped up, they’re also putting in the hard work,” Dillashaw continued. “So, he does a good job of that. But we see what happened as soon as he fought Chito. Chito is more of a top-ranked fighter, and he got finished in the first round. I mean, I don’t think that he will be champion, but he’s a good draw. Hopefully he can make it far enough to where I could use some of that thunder and get paid off it.”
The once-beaten O’Malley, 26, was able to rebound from his Vera loss to score consecutive knockout victories over Thomas Almeida and Kris Moutinho, though neither performance was enough to catapult “Suga” into the Top 15.
Not that it matters, as O’Malley gets paid either way.