UFC President Dana White believes Sean O’Malley can fulfill his goal of becoming the next Conor McGregor by stopping former bantamweight champion Petr Yan at the upcoming UFC 280 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Sat. (Oct. 22) at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
McGregor is widely-considered to be the most famous fighter in UFC history.
“There was this comparison recently where Sean O’Malley said, ‘I would love to be the next Conor McGregor and be a big global superstar,’” White told Barstool Sports. “Well, it’s about winning key fights. He’s already got that thing that people like about him. Now, it’s about winning key fights. This fight for him is like Conor’s Jose Aldo fight. He’s got the reach and height advantage. He’s got knockout power. He’s got all the tools to win this fight. He’s just got to get out there and do it. It’s no easy task. Petr Yan is an absolute savage.”
Following months of hype, McGregor captured the featherweight title with a 13-second knockout over Jose Aldo at UFC 194 back in late 2015. The stakes are not as high for O’Malley, but stopping Yan would likely put him in line for the next division title shot.
Don’t expect Yan to play ball.
“Considering the other side of things, you can definitely compare it to Conor-Aldo fight,” Yan told reporters at the UFC 280 media day (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “Sean is a UFC project and Conor wannabe, but the result of this matchup will be different. You saw my fight with Aldo already.”
Yan stopped Aldo at UFC 251 by fifth-round knockout.
Like O’Malley, the 29 year-old Yan is hoping to blast his way into the next bantamweight title fight and score his revenge against longtime rival and current champion Aljamain Sterling. Unless “Funk Master” falls at UFC 280, setting up Yan (or O’Malley) against TJ Dillashaw.
Expect a major shakeup in the bantamweight class this weekend in Abu Dhabi.
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