O'Malley explains why haters still want him to beat Yan

O’Malley explains why haters still want him to beat Yan

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If you say you want Petr Yan to beat Sean O’Malley at UFC 280, you’re lying – according to ‘Sugar’.

Later this month, O’Malley will have a huge opportunity to advance his ambitions on MMA’s biggest stage.

In 2021, the Montana native recorded three straight knockout wins, earning himself a trio of $50,000 bonuses. Although this form earned him No. 13 in the 135-pound rankings and secured him his first ranked opponent in Pedro Munhoz, the fight did not go to plan. A look from O’Malley resulted in a no contest, which at the time appeared to stall O’Malley’s ascent.

Ultimately, that wasn’t the case, with O’Malley’s next fight being confirmed against former champion and current No. 1 ranked contender Petr Yan.

The pair, who have long interacted and traded jibes on social media, will collide on the main card of a stacked UFC 280 pay-per-view, which is set to take place in Abu Dhabi on October 22.

As a rising star, O’Malley is subject to the usual cascade of doubts from certain corners of the MMA fanbase – all the more so given his oft-expressed confidence and lofty ambitions. More often than not, this leads to many wishing for his downfall every time he steps into the Octagon.

This time, however, he expects all fans to have a different attitude towards “The Sugar Show.”

O’Malley: Fans want a new superstar

During a recent appearance on ESPN MMA DC and RC To displayO’Malley spoke about his upcoming trip to Abu Dhabi, which could see him return to American soil within touching distance of a shot at the bantamweight belt.

“Sugar” acknowledged that many in the community saw him facing an uphill battle when he shared the Octagon with Yan, who seemed somewhat unstoppable before losing the belt via disqualification last March, and who was a unsolvable puzzle on the feet.

However, while his critics may doubt his chances on October 22, O’Malley has no doubts about who they ultimately want to see raised inside the cage.

“Usually I would say people are hoping I don’t win. But to be honest, I would say the majority of people who think I won’t win really want me to win,” O’Malley said. “People want a superstar. There’s really no one in the UFC right now that’s at that level Conor (McGregor). Me, I go out and beat Petr spectacularly, I climb.

“I’m not going to be there yet, and I know that, but I’m climbing to be that guy. I want to be this dude. I want to be the Conor McGregor. I don’t want to be competitive where, ‘You’re up there with that guy.’ I want to be this dude. And I think UFC fans want it,” O’Malley continued. “They want someone they can be super, super excited for. So I think most people think I’m going to lose, but the majority want me to go out there and win, which is quite rare.

O’Malley has long expressed his desire to push towards the level of stardom that former champion-champion McGregor achieved through his two-division reign, even calling the Irishman his only inspiration in mixed martial arts.

In that regard, the No. 13-ranked bantamweight thinks Yan could be his Conor McGregor’s José Aldo later this month. Can O’Malley do the unthinkable and knock out “No Mercy”? Only time will tell.

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