Sean O’Malley is not keen on being the underdog in his next fight.
UFC 280 is full of amazing matchups from top to bottom. There will be two title fights that night in Abu Dhabi, a lightweight bout between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev and a bantamweight bout between champion Aljamain Sterling and TJ Dillashaw. These two title fights are exciting, but many fight fans are looking forward to another bout on the card. There is a bantamweight title contender fight between former champ Petr Yan and rising star Sean O’Malley, this is the people’s main event.
Sean O’Malley is out to prove that his underdog status for UFC 280 is wrong
When this bout was first announced it came as a surprise to some. Although O’Malley is one of the most popular fighters on the roster, he is only ranked 12 in the division. Landing a fight with the number one ranked guy is a huge step up in competition for O’Malley, one he is more than ready for. Logically with O’Malley ranked outside the top ten and Yan being a former champion the odds are in Yan’s favor. Although O’Malley can see the reasoning behind this, he admits he is a bit surprised by being the underdog. He spoke to Helen Yee about this.
“You ask the smartest guys, the best fighters in the world, what do you guys think? You know, they’re like, ‘oh, I don’t know it’s a tough one.’ But you asked the casuals and they’d say, ‘oh Petr gonna smoke him,” he explained. “You know, three to one underdog or whatever, but I think I’m a little surprised, but I also kind of get it from other people’s perspectives, but you know, I believe I’m better than Petr Yan and I believe I’m gonna go out there and beat his ass.”
O’Malley and Yan have been going back and forth on social media leading up to the pairing. O’Malley feels he has what it takes to end the past champ’s night early and move on to a title shot. With the bantamweight title bout being the same night it aligns the schedules with O’Malley’s perfectly. A lot can happen in terms of the outcome of both bouts and injuries sustained, but either way, O’Malley is on a mission for gold whether it is immediately next or down the road.
“Obviously, I go out there, get through Petr. It depends on Aljo and TJ who wins, is there injuries, and their surgeries,” he said. “You know that Chito fight is always lingering around? I believe that will make the most sense in the title picture. But we have options. The bantamweight division is the most stacked division in the UFC right now. It’s so fun. So we got options. Ideally, go out there, knock Petr out and fight for the title next year.”
UFC 280 goes down on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 22.
Watch the entire interview here: