UFC president Dana White doesn’t think it’s necessary to fast-track Sean O’Malley.

O’Malley (14-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), who received one of the loudest pops Thursday at the UFC 269 press conference, has been criticized for the level of competition he’s fought so far. Though he’s dazzled fans with his exciting style and show-stopping finishes, O’Malley is yet to beat a ranked fighter.

His lone octagon loss came in his toughest test to date against Marlon Vera, and “The Suga Show” turned heads when he claimed that he sees no point in fighting ranked opposition if he’s being paid the same amount. White said the demand for O’Malley to face top-level competition is more to do with his stardom than him being ready, and there’s no reason to skyrocket someone up the rankings – unless your name is Khamzat Chimaev.

“It has nothing to do with his contract,” White said in an interview with Barstool Sports. “I mean, he’s not ready. You guys wanna throw him to the wolves. You don’t move somebody that fast unless they’re Khamzat Chimaev. Khamzat is a guy you feel comfortable moving that fast. I mean, O’Malley just lost a couple fights ago. Talking about bigger fights and all that sh*t, this is a tough fight for him on Saturday night.

“In his last fight he looked incredible. He put on a clinic. I think because O’Malley’s so popular and whatever, you’re always gonna have the critics that give this kid sh*t. He’s a tough kid, he’s fun, he’s exciting to watch, but he’s making his way, you know, the way you’re supposed to. You don’t just turn O’Malley around and throw him against killers. That’s not how it works.”

Raulian Paiva says don’t bet on Sean O’Malley: He can be a threat against certain fighters

Stay tuned: Sean O’Malley plans can’t-miss matchups after UFC 269, from Jose Aldo to Adrian Yanez

O’Malley opens up the UFC 269 main card Saturday against Raulian Paiva (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who was ranked No. 15 for a short while before getting bumped out of the bantamweight rankings. Although he’s yet to fight someone in the upper echelon of the division, O’Malley has called out the likes of former champion Dominick Cruz and Pedro Munhoz, who will square off in the televised prelims of UFC 269.

Also competing Saturday is Cody Garbrandt, who makes his flyweight debut against Kai Kara-France. Although they’re now in different weight classes, that didn’t stop O’Malley from continuing to spark up his beef with “No Love” and get in his face at the UFC 269 press conference.

Either way, with an impressive win over the streaking Paiva, O’Malley could be primed for the step up in competition that everyone is hoping for.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *