Sean O’Malley, the rising UFC star with the Irish-sounding name, says that he has everything it takes to emulate the achievements of one of the fight game’s most transformative figures, Conor McGregor.
O’Malley, who is a perfect 4-0 since joining the UFC ranks in late 2017 after impressing Dana White on the “Contender Series” show, has signposted himself as a fighter to watch following a series of scintillating performances in the cage.
His most recent outing saw him claim a one-shot KO of fight veteran Eddie Wineland in June. But, as his reputation grows so does the caliber of his opposition and ahead of this weekend’s UFC 252 showdown with the highly-regarded Marlon “Chito” Vera, O’Malley says he is expecting to produce the type of performance of which fighters like McGregor, or even middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, would be proud of.
“I think obviously Conor’s career went well,” O’Malley told the media in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
“Israel Adesanya’s career went well, and I feel like I want a similar career like that.
“(McGregor and I are) pretty similar in fighting styles. We knock people out in the first round. We’re not afraid to say how the fight will play out.”
McGregor, the Irish former two-division UFC champion, began his career in the organization with an improbable series of predictions, many of which came true.
Chad Mendes, he said, would be knocked out in the second round of their fight at UFC 189. He then predicted that Jose Aldo would fall after their first exchange at UFC 194. He also said he would one day hold both the UFC’s featherweight and lightweight world titles.
All of these predictions came true. Others, of course, didn’t but O’Malley says that he respects the Dubliner’s willingness to call his own shots and then work to achieve them, and is aiming for the type of definitive performances McGregor displayed en route to UFC gold.
“I think it totally depends how I go out there and finish ‘Chito,'” O’Malley said.
“If I win a decision I don’t get that big, big next fight name. I could, because if I win a decision it will be a very impressive decision. But if I starch him I think I will get whoever I want.
“He’s in the UFC, he’s tough, he’s beat people in the UFC, he’s finished people in the UFC and he’s never been finished.
“All around it’s a tough fight. He’s my toughest opponent to date and, with that said, I’ll probably still drop him in the first round.”