Sean O’Malley’s stock is at an all-time high. He beat former bantamweight champion Petr Yan at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi last week in what was clearly the biggest win of his career.

The American is a born entertainer and has been awarded performance bonuses for all seven of his UFC wins. O’Malley is so pleased with his current trajectory that he believes he can be the next Anderson Silva.

Speaking on Logan Paul’s podcast, Impaulsive, recently O’Malley said,

“I think just realizing my potential now, at this point, I’m like I can become the (next) Anderson Silva. Like, I can be looked at as one of the greatest fighters of all time and that’s definitely what still drives me. And I just turned 28, so I feel like I got a solid ten years.”

Pound for pound

While Silva’s star is clearly on the wane he was the best pound for pound mixed martial artist on the planet at one stage. The Brazilian is coming off a decision loss to Jake Paul in a boxing match.

Silva won 16 UFC fights in a row during his peak, defending the middleweight title eight times. His style also made him a fan favourite with the Brazilian able to use his head movement to evade punches in a way which embarrassed some of the best 185lbers of the era.

O’Malley is also popular with the fans although this owes as much to his outspoken, extroverted personality as his fighting style. He has a wild dress sense and it is impossible to predict what colour his hair is going to be on any given day.

Controversial decision

The split decision win over Yan was controversial because the vast majority of people felt that the Russian had won at least two of the three rounds. There has been a backlash but O’Malley says it doesn’t bother him,

“The media really doesn’t affect me. Like those guys that are talking shit are just so stupid. I feel like if it did affect me, it’d be me being weak-minded and I feel like everything I have worked on in myself in the last five-six years, growing, becoming famous, it’s to deal with that stuff.”

While O’Malley’s meteoric rise might have taken other people by surprise the 28 year old appears to have expected nothing less. Both he and Yan picked up a performance bonus for their fight in Abu Dhabi and the victor jumped up ten spots in the rankings.

O’Malley now sits at #1 and is in pole position for a shot at the champion. He is an entertainer both inside and outside of the cage and thinks that the people being critical about the decision have lost sight of what a good fight it was,

“I’m not affected by it (the criticism). And the people that I respect, like I respect their opinions, all those guys are like, ‘dude that was so entertaining’.”