Sean O’Malley wants to put on a ‘beautiful performance’ against his first ranked opponent.
International Fight Week is upon us once again and the UFC has a packed slate of fights scheduled. Two titles are on the line at UFC 276 as both Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski defend their championships. Sean O’Malley is also scheduled to fight and continue to build his position on the roster as a bantamweight star to watch.
“I always feel pretty calm going into my fights. I feel more calm going into this fight than I ever have,” O’Malley said during the media day. “Every time I fight, I feel like I’m the main event so they all feel pretty similar.”
This is an important fight for O’Malley, as it is his first time taking on a ranked opponent. Even with an impressive 15-1 record that includes 11 by finish, O’Malley recognizes the criticism heading into UFC 276.
“I pay no attention to what the negative fans say to me. I could go out there and submit Khabib and the fans would be like ‘yea but.’ A win over Pedro would be huge, but a finish over him would be massive. I want to put his lights out.”
Pedro Munhoz is on a losing streak but is still a tough opponent
To keep the momentum going, O’Malley is going to have to defeat number nine ranked Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz may be riding a two-fight losing streak, but he’s still seen as a tough out in the division. He last competed against Dominick Cruz at UFC 269 and before that dropped a bout to Jose Aldo at UFC 265.
“Beating Pedro will be a big deal. Not just beating Pedro but finishing Pedro would be a massive deal. I do believe I will be his toughest fight and I think he’s my toughest fight as well.”
O’Malley can speak with that confidence because of his string of strong performances in the Octagon. Since joining the company via Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2017, he’s become a fan favorite, only losing once to Marlon Vera back in 2020 at UFC 252. He’s rebounded from that fight and looking to push his way toward the title, but only after additional conversations with the promotion.
“I just didn’t get into the UFC as a fighter, it was a businessman and a fighter. Since day one, I’ve always wanted my career to play out a certain way and here we are. I want to go out there and put on beautiful performances and earn my paychecks. Before the title fight, I want to sit back down and ask, ‘is this fair?’ At the end of the day, they are fair.”