Prefer it or not, UFC bantamweight Sean O’Malley is on the quick listing of potential stars in blended martial arts. And for the file, there are lots on the market who don’t prefer it.
O’Malley (14-1) has been a polarizing determine since he signed with the UFC off Dana White’s Contender Sequence in 2017. He’s 6-1 contained in the Octagon — together with 4 finishes — however he has taken some criticism concerning the extent of his competitors. O’Malley, 27, has by no means crushed anybody ranked contained in the UFC’s prime 15.
O’Malley, who faces Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 on Saturday (10 p.m., ESPN+ PPV), has responded to any remarks a few padded file by trolling his critics. He just lately launched merchandise that dubbed him the “Unranked Champ.” He is additionally dropped merchandise prior to now that boasts of his “undefeated” file, as he feels a freak harm was behind his solely loss, a first-round TKO by Marlon Vera in August 2020 after a kick numbed O’Malley’s decrease leg and rendered him defenseless.
Heading into his eighth UFC look, O’Malley spoke to ESPN concerning the that means behind “Unranked Champ,” the stress of celebrity expectations and this weekend’s combat.
Editor’s be aware: Responses had been edited for readability and brevity
On being unranked and ‘undefeated’
The UFC rankings have at all times been one thing not tremendous necessary to me. So, the merchandise says “Unranked Champ 15” as a result of that is my fifteenth combat and I am about to be 15-0. That combat in opposition to Vera, I do not really feel like I misplaced as a result of his expertise had been higher. I do not assume he really, really thinks he received the combat, both, the best way it performed out. It was so uncommon. Have a look at what number of occasions I have been kicked in different fights; you do not see my complete leg go numb the best way it did in opposition to him. Mentally, I do not really feel that I misplaced. If Vera goes out in a rematch and beats me in a choice or finishes me honest and sq., I will haven’t any challenge saying I misplaced.
I lose in sparring, I lose in grappling. I am not anxious about dropping. I simply do not feel like I misplaced that combat, and lots of people hate that I say that.
On what makes him ‘the folks’s champ’
Petr Yan is the champ proper now. He is crushed the folks he must beat to be the champ within the UFC. However I really feel I am the folks’s champ. I’ve extra eyeballs on me than anybody else within the bantamweight division. That is what I contemplate “the champ.” I am probably the most entertaining. Individuals care about me probably the most. That is what “the champ” is to me.
Editor’s be aware: Yan is definitely an interim champ, with Aljamain Sterling holding the actual belt. However Yan managed their 2020 title bout earlier than dropping his belt to Sterling by disqualification.
On why he’ll really feel no stress Saturday
Sean O’Malley displays on his time away from preventing and the way it has helped him develop as an individual. Order UFC 248 right here on ESPN+ espn.com/ppv.
I’ll go on the market and combat Paiva, a harmful opponent, one of many more durable guys I’ve fought, for positive — however it does not matter. I will end him, and that is what is meant to occur. It is the Suga Present. I am alleged to exit and end him.
I’ve realized so much, by way of being within the UFC since I used to be 22, principally to not care what folks assume. I have been very energetic on social media, and you’ll’t care what folks assume.
If I’m going on the market and lose to Paiva, I’ve nonetheless acquired my home that is virtually paid off. I’ve acquired my different home. I’ve nonetheless acquired my household, associates. My life remains to be good, win or lose. So it does not matter to my happiness. I do not actually put that further stress of, “I gotta win this combat or individuals are going to assume I suck.” I do not care, you realize what I imply?
I do not actually really feel stress and I do not actually get nervous earlier than fights.
2020 to 2030 goes to be my complete period. It is the Suga Period. 2020 was a improbable 12 months for me. 2021 has been superb. 2022, I see myself getting again in there throughout the first quarter and simply persevering with to do what I am doing. You may’t look too far forward on this recreation. I realized that within the Vera combat. I already had massive plans going into that one. I did not plan on my peroneal nerve getting tapped and my foot going utterly numb. I’ve realized to sort of pull again from trying too far forward.
On the combat he most needs
I need to combat Petr Yan. I do know he is the champ and it’s important to beat sure folks to get that combat, however that is a combat I would like ultimately. Even when he is not the champ, that is a combat I would like. I feel he is probably the greatest pound-for-pound, top-three fighters on this planet. I like his model, his boxing, the best way he switches stances, covers up, his protection. He is simply so good. Each time he will get in there, it is spectacular.
I like his humor, too. Clearly there is a language barrier, however I take pleasure in his comedy on Twitter. He calls me a poodle. I discover him very humorous.
What’s subsequent after Saturday
If I needed to say what’s subsequent, in all probability I will get one other combat in March. Whether or not it is prime 15, prime 10, not ranked, I actually do not care. I like going on the market and performing. Performing is what I like probably the most, going on the market dwell, T-Cell Area, screaming followers, tens of millions of individuals watching dwell. That is what I like. So long as I can go in there and combat, it does not matter who it’s.