Sean O’Malley has a big target on his back heading into 2022.
The UFC star would capture 3 KO’s (and bonuses) to eventually get a spot in the UFC rankings at #12. After dispatching Raulian Paiva at UFC 269, O’Malley is already eyeing potential opponents.
There is a long line of people wanting to fight ‘Suga’ next. Every way you look in the bantamweight division, the 27 year-old is being called out. Cody Garbrandt, Brian Kelleher, Ricky Simon are just a few of the people calling for a fight with the star. Despite ongoing words from his fellow fighters, O’Malley isn’t interested in any of them.
Instead, O’Malley is honing in on 3 names that could potentially be next. Mind you, O’Malley currently has a hand injury so it may be a few months before we see him back in action.
“It’s nice right now, not having an update specific date or an opponent in mind,” O’Malley said on The Believe You Me Podcast. “But, if I had to narrow it down to who’s next, there’s a couple options. I think the Adrian Yanez… people really like that fight. That’s an exciting matchup. Rob Fond, I know he’s ranked a little bit higher. I think Rob has acknowledged like, that’s a big fight. [He doesn’t] necessarily care if [I’m] ranked out of the top 10 or whatever.
“That’s a big fight. You beat me… like when Chito beat me, he fought Jose Aldo after that. You beat me, that means something. That’s a big fight. You’re going to get a big fight after that.”
With big fights basically on deck, should his foes beat him, O’Malley doesn’t understand why Dominick Cruz is turning him down.
“So when Dominick Cruz comes out and says, he doesn’t want to fight me. He wants to fight up. Beating me, could get some of those guys, a title shot realistically.
Collecting His Thoughts
O’Malley would continue to work up the shortlist of opponents he has and a even a potential date.
“I think Rob Font is in the options. Rob, Adrian, ‘prelim’ Pedro [Munhoz], he’s up there. So I think there’s some good fights.”
“It could be none of those three. I really don’t know. I haven’t talked to UFC once since my last fight. Um, I know Petr Yan and Aljo [Sterling] just got announced on March 5th in Vegas. Which if I could fight on that card, that would be ideal. I just don’t think that’s going to be.”