Sean O’Malley is about to take on a big step in competition. ‘Sugar’ will face former champion Petr Yan at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi in what will be only his second time fighting a top ten ranked opponent
The 27-year-old has become a star due to his outgoing personality as much as his fighting exploits. His last outing against #11th-ranked Pedro Munoz at UFC 276 was ruled a no-contest due to an eye poke and he has been handed an extremely tough assignment on the back of that disappointment.
In Yan, O’Malley will be facing an opponent 12 places above him in the rankings. But he is not short of confidence and believes he is superior to the Russian.
Speaking on ESPN’s DC & RC he said,
“I believe I’m better than Petr at what we’re going to do, and that’s fu**ing fighting. I’m better than Petr, and I truly believe that. And I think that’s what is going to get the job done. I’m going to go in there more prepared than Petr, I’m going to go in there and just do what I do. Obviously putting Petr’s lights out would be massive, but I just need to go in there and get the job done against Petr Yan. Three five-minute rounds.”
— UFC (@ufc) July 21, 2022
But O’Malley openly admits that this will be the biggest test so far in his four year professional career,
“It’s the best dude I’ve ever fought, hands down, and I’m very excited for the opportunity. And I just believe I’m going to be better October 22nd than Petr.”
The Tiger Muay Thai fighter is coming off of a split decision loss to Aljamain Sterling in a bantamweight unification bout at UFC 273. The champion is set to defend the strap against T.J. Dillashaw in Abu Dhabi but O’Malley believes his non title clash with Yan is the bigger fight.
“I’m so excited for this. I almost can’t even believe it’s real, it’s happening. It’s the biggest fight in the bantamweight division right now. I think it’s bigger than Aljo vs. T.J.”
— UFC (@ufc) July 22, 2022
O’Malley has been one of the biggest success stories to emerge from Dana White’s Contender Series. He fought in front of the UFC head honcho on the show in 2017 and has been on the roster ever since.
He would like to become the first DWCS alumni to win a UFC title,
“The Contender Series was a great opportunity for me and a great opportunity for a bunch of people it would be awesome to be the first one to get the belt.”
O’Malley is known as a trash talker. But he has nothing but respect for Yan and has been following the Russian’s career for quite some time,
“He’s obviously the #1 contender right now. He’s pretty much 1-1 against ‘Aljo’. He whooped Aljo the first fight, then he got kind of whooped up in the second fight. But he could be considered the champion. The whole top five really, the way Petr beat Jose Aldo was one of my favorite performances of Petr Yan. So going in there and stepping up against a guy like Petr is exciting.”