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‘Are you out of your mind?’ Dana White shook by UFC matchmakers booking Sean O’Malley vs Petr Yan

No. 13-ranked bantamweight sensation Sean O’Malley will take a major step up in competition when he collides with former champion and No. 1-ranked Petr Yan as part of the upcoming UFC 280 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for Sat., Oct. 22, 2022 at Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.

UFC President Dana White was not a fan of the booking, cooked up by longtime matchmaker Sean Shelby, but was eventually sold on the 135-pound showdown. Probably because “Sugar” is 8-1 with six knockouts under the UFC banner, dating back to his “Contender Series” win roughly five years back.

If not now, when?

“We were in matchmaking and Sean Shelby actually came up with that fight,” White told reporters on Tuesday. “Sean Shelby wanted that fight. I said, ‘Are you out of your mind? You don’t make that fight now.’ This and that. He told me why he’d make it and O’Malley’s ready. You know, O’Malley’s about to be 28 years old in October, in his absolute prime right now, hits like a truck. He ended up selling me on it. And more importantly, both guys wanted it. And even more important than that, when we announced it, everybody went crazy and loves it. And even more important than that, it should be a really good fight.”

That could depend on how much Yan wants to wrestle.

O’Malley (15-1, 1 NC) is coming off a disappointing “No Contest” against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 last July. Prior to that inconclusive ending, “Sugar” racked up three straight wins, all by way of knockout. As for Yan, 29, he failed to recapture the crown he lost to Aljamain Sterling in their UFC 273 rematch, falling to 8-2 inside the Octagon and 16-3 overall.

Many of the MMA fans who claim O’Malley is being “fed” to Yan or is not ready for such a huge jump in the rankings are the same people who celebrated the UFC 273 booking between No. 11-ranked Khamzat Chimaev and No. 2-ranked Gilbert Burns, despite the fact “Borz” had never faced an opponent ranked in the welterweight Top 10.

To see who else is fighting at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi click here.

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