UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski have shared their opinion regarding Sean O’Malley’s method of picking fights in the UFC.
O’Malley returns to the cage this weekend when he faces Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 in Las Vegas. It’s a big step up for O’Malley who has recorded wins against Raulian Paiva, Kris Moutinho, and Thomas Almeida in his last three fights.
After fighting Moutinho last year, “Sugar” Sean spoke of the strategy involved in navigating a UFC contract.
“They wanted me to fight someone ranked last fight,” O’Malley said. “I was supposed to fight Luis Smolka. For me, I have a contract to fight a certain amount of fights and I only get paid a certain amount of money whether I fight Louis Smolka, the dude I was supposed to fight, or I fight Petr Yan, the number one bantamweight in the UFC. I get paid the same. I’m gonna fight [the lower ranked fighter] and I’m going to fight this dude on a Conor McGregor pay-per-view” (via Bloody Elbow).
O’Malley shared that he was inspired by Chael Sonnen’s comments about influencing not only your potential opponent but the event, as well.
Interestingly, all of O’Malley’s last seven fights have taken place on a UFC PPV fight card in Las Vegas. This weekend’s fight against Munhoz is again another PPV event for O’Malley and will be exclusively available to watch on ESPN+ in the United States.
“Chael Sonnen always says fight the worst dude on the highest part of the card. A lot of bantamweights, and just people in the UFC, they definitely hate [me for it]. It comes from jealousy. I’m getting way more eye-balls than them … I perform in there. You can go and watch some of these guys perform and you literally pick up your phone, start surfing Instagram, you just don’t give a fuck what they’re doing.”
In a recent video with Israel Adesanya, Volkanovski commented on O’Malley’s way of picking fights and said that he agrees with his approach — even though it may be controversial.
“I agree with it, to be honest,” Volkanovski said. “A lot of people are going to hate it. But, look, I don’t mind that too much. I think this is a step up.
“Something that Sean does is whenever there’s a stacked card, he’s like ‘I want in,’ every single time. He wants that highlight reel on a card that everyone is watching.”
Adesanya shared his opinion, as well, and compared O’Malley’s method to his own while he was coming up in the UFC.
“Munhoz is not an easy fight,” Adesanya said. “But when you’re doing that, fighting those lower-ranked guys, what you’re doing really is getting experience in the UFC. You’re getting experience. So, eight fights in the UFC as an official UFC fighter gets you experience that is invaluable. He was pretty green when he joined the UFC.
“And I kind of did the same thing, low-key, with my fights in the UFC on the way up. I was picking and choosing. I don’t pick easy fights. I pick and choose the harder guys. But this is a good step up for Sean on a big card on International Fight Week, big name, a veteran in the game.”
Sean O’Malley vs. Pedro Munhoz features on the UFC 276 main card. Order the PPV on ESPN+ to watch this fight and every main card fight live on Saturday night.
[lasso ref=”watch-ufc” id=”32523″ link_id=”24134″]