LAS VEGAS – From the way the UFC 269 pre-fight press conference unfolded, one would think we’re going to see Cody Garbrandt vs. Sean O’Malley on Saturday.

That’s not the case, however, as Garbrandt (12-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) is set to make his flyweight debut on the card against Kai Kara-France (22-9 MMA, 5-2 UFC), while O’Malley (14-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) is set to take on Raulian Paiva (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in a bantamweight bout. The event takes place at T-Mobile Arena and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

That didn’t stop the two from going after each other, though. Over the past year, Garbrandt and O’Malley have had multiple exchanges on Twitter, and neither man appeared to forget when they shared the same dais.

“Listen, this dude he comes out here does his thing, he walks his walk,” Garbrandt told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the UFC 269 press conference. “Look at him, he’s dressed and has the hair, but he’s got different problems than ‘No Love’ problems. He’s got Raulian problems. Raulian’s battle-tested in her way father than he’s ever been.”

O’Malley responded with a dig at Garbrandt’s record. The former UFC champ is 1-4 in his past five fights, and he was reminded of that.

“He’s won one fight since 2017,” O’Malley fired back.

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Garbrandt didn’t take the critique of his resume lightly, and he reminded O’Malley that even though the losses outdo the wins in recent years, his level of competition is light years ahead of what “Suga” has dealt with so far.

“That’s a good one,” Garbrandt said. “And you haven’t fought anybody. Who the f*ck have you fought? Listen, I can’t even be mad at this kid. He understands when he jumps up in competition his hype goes away, his money goes away. His little sponsors go away because he’ll get his ass beat. Straight up.”

The exchange then took a turn, with O’Malley requesting that UFC president Dana White allow him to get face-to-face with Garbrandt for an impromptu staredown that could be used as promotional fodder for a future bout.

“Let’s just square up a little bit for the fans,” O’Malley said. “Let’s just square up. Dana, can me and Cody just square up for the future?”

Garbrandt walked across the stage and got within proximity of O’Malley before security rushed the stage and made sure they didn’t get too close.

O’Malley took it all in stride, and said he’s confident about where his future in the sport is going. He couldn’t say the same for Garbrandt.

“Cody’s one fight away from the commentary booth next to Dominick Cruz,” O’Malley said. “So I don’t know what the f*ck he’s talking about.”

Garbrandt got the final word in, and said if his career ended today, he would’ve still had a bigger impact than O’Malley.

“I’ve still done more than you’re ever going to do in this career,” Garbrandt said. “You’re going to amount to nothing. Trust me. Once you lose you’re going to get carried out on another stretcher and where are you going be at?”



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