Sean O’Malley believes he’s an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) necessity.
2022 was a unique year for the promotion. Several notable champions fell or were absent, some lost in comebacks, while others displayed some weakness, but hung on to their titles. Mixed martial arts (MMA) megastar, Conor McGregor, teased an eventual return, but has been out of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool since 2022’s start, competing last in July 2021.
Some other notable names are returning in 2023 and risers continue to bloom. O’Malley just doesn’t see anyone (aside from himself) generating those next-level reactions.
“UFC needs a superstar right now,” O’Malley said on BROMALLEY. “They got Jon Jones, but he’s getting older and he’s not guaranteed to get to the fight. I think he will, just saying. Stuff happens. Even if he does fight, it’s like, when does he fight again?
“Paddy [Pimblett] was like, ‘Could he be?!’ Then we see his last fight, now he’s getting surgery,” he continued. “He still has potential, he still could be a massive superstar. The only person I can think of is ‘The Sugar Show’ that has the potential to be that motherf—ker.”
O’Malley’s last victory was his biggest to date, defeating former Bantamweight champion, Petr Yan, via a split decision at UFC 280 in Oct. 2022 (watch highlights). According to “Sugar,” the win has secured him the next title shot against the winner of Aljamain Sterling versus Henry Cejudo, which is reportedly set for UFC 287 on April 8, 2023.
“I’m not saying I’m the best fighter, I’m talking about who’s gonna bring the most eyeballs, who’s gonna give the people that feeling when they walk out?” O’Malley said. “At the weigh-ins, during fight week, and they’re like, ‘Oh, s—t. This fight’s happening.’ It’s me.
“Khamzat [Chimaev] if he can make the weight, that’s a big deal,” he concluded. “Even if he goes up to 185 [pounds].”