It’s a bad idea to count out Sean O’Malley… at least, that’s according to Eddie Cha.
Fight Ready’s Cha has many years of experience as a striking coach, notably to former UFC Champion Henry Cejudo and ‘The Korean Zombie’. While he’s not in O’Malley’s corner for his upcoming title fight at UFC 291, he is more than familiar with his skillset, training with ‘Suga’ years ago.
Sean O’Malley’s Striking Is ‘Unbelievable’
Inside the Octagon, Sterling is thought to be O’Malley’s toughest test to date. But, Cha is giving the colorful contender a chance to win UFC gold.
“It’s a tough one to pick,” Cha said of Sterling vs. O’Malley to Middle Easy. “I have nothing against Aljo, too. I think that guy’s a class act. I think he’s a great champion. It’s an interesting match, Even the odds were a little bit closer than I thought. I thought Aljo would be a little bit bigger favorite. But, do not count Sean out. Sean has lights out power.
“I always tell everybody too, like I’ve held pads for him a few times back in the days, there’s not a lot of guys that can faint and really get me to kind of bite on those things, too. Sean can make you jump, like his twitchiness of when he starts to faint and move and then go laterally on the cage. Like, it’s unbelievable.”
Cha Compares O’Malley To Israel Adesanya
Cha continued on O’Malley’s striking prowess.
“He has power in both hands. He knows how to use his range. He’s kinda like in a different style again like Adesanya where he can go open stance and just really create that range, like his height at that weight class and everything else.”
‘Striker vs. Grappler’
Still, Sterling is the UFC Bantamweight Champion for a reason. ‘Funkmaster’ is no stranger to dealing with strikers and outgrappling them on the ground. Sterling has defeated the likes of TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan and even took down and defeated Cha’s pupil Henry Cejudo in his last outing.
Cha says Sterling will have to be perfect through the distance if he wants to rack up another title defense against O’Malley.
“So, it’s the classic striker vs. grappler, who can implement their game-plan is gonna definitely win that day. But the thing is like I think Aljo’s gonna have to do that every single round,” Cha said of Sterling. “All it takes for a striker to get one good clip and it can change the game. So, Sean’s got 25 minutes to do it and Aljo’s gotta really maintain to stay focused for 25 minutes. So I don’t wanna pick a winner, but, it’s gonna be a great fight. I’m looking forward to it.”
O’Malley vs. Cejudo?
Should ‘Suga’ be victorious at UFC 291, perhaps he’ll find himself locking horns with former champ (and rival) Henry Cejudo someday.
“Tim [Welch] and I talked about it before a lot too, and it’s interesting matchup,” Cha said of O’Malley vs. Cejudo. “It’s striker vs. grappler, but I think Henry’s not just a grappler anymore. He’s come such a long way involving his striking game, kicking game and everything else. I love Suga to death too, but I’d hate to see him fight, but I would love to see the fight.”
Watch our full interview with Eddie Cha below.