Henry Cejudo isn’t on the Sean O’Malley hype train for now.
O’Malley has been the talk of the bantamweight division ever since his first-round knockout of Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 last month.
A number of fighters have called the unbeaten striker out since while O’Malley seems eager to face someone like Cody Garbrandt, even though he acknowledged he would probably have to gradually build himself up before facing the top-ranked fighters in the division.
Cejudo: O’Malley Hasn’t Fought A Wrestler Yet
He has since asked to face Marlon Vera and for the former bantamweight champion Cejudo, that’s one of the reasons why he doesn’t rate O’Malley — because he is yet to call out anyone with wrestling credentials.
“I think Sean O’Malley is completely overrated,” Cejudo told ESPN’s “Now or Never” (via MMA Junkie). “He hasn’t fought nobody. They haven’t put him up against a wrestler. Every time they ask Sean O’Malley who do you want next, ‘I want another striker.’ You know what that tells me as a competitor? That this dude does not want any smoke up against the cage. This dude doesn’t train with people that can grind him. If I was to ever fight him, I would hurt him. I would grind him out, I would keep him for like maybe three to four rounds and just hurt him.
“I’m not going to strike with him because I will give him some credit. He does understand distance and is very precise, but that’s about it. Put him up against a minor league wrestler – a minor leaguer, I’m telling you, and we’ll see how good he really is.”
It’s clear that the UFC sees O’Malley as a future star and are gradually building him up with ideal style matchups for the time being.
But much like Conor McGregor and Israel Adesanya, “Sugar” will eventually have to be matched up with a wrestler sooner rather than later. And if he passes the test with flying colors, maybe then Cejudo will start to take him seriously.