One of the unwritten rules of sparring is that you avoid bragging about outdoing a training partner. Those who go against it aren’t really viewed positively.
Bantamweight Sean O’Malley just did exactly that during a recent episode of his podcast with his trainer Tim Welch. “Sugar” Sean boastingly recalled a sparring session he had with flyweight contender Alexandre Pantoja from years back at the MMA Lab facility in Arizona.
“I knocked out Pantoja back in the sparring days at the old Lab,” O’Malley said. “Henry Cejudo yelling at me, ‘pull your punches!’
“I’m f—ng 3-0 as a pro, he’s making his UFC debut. In shape, in camp, and I’m f—ng there and (they’re) like, ‘three in a row with you.’ I’m like, ‘What the f—k?’ But, finished him.”
Pantoja eventually got wind of O’Malley’s claims. Seemingly irked by what he heard, “The Cannibal” now says he’s willing to jump up to 135 pounds to make a fight happen.
“I learned early on that training is not talked about,” he said (via AgFight). “If he wants to say something, send him to show the video. When I went to the Lab, after traveling 15 hours by plane, the next day, I did sparring at his gym.
“With 61 kg, I got there to train and beat the guy’s gym with everyone. See if he has the balls to go to Brazil to face anyone? See if he has the balls to get to ATT, after traveling 15 hours and training with anyone? I have a lot! I went there and trained with him.
“Tell him what happened in the last round, I rode him. I’m going to say to Thomas (Almeida), ‘Throw this guy on the floor, that he has nothing on the floor for you’. If he ever wants to fight me, I will fight him at bantamweight.”
O’Malley hasn’t fought since his first-ever loss to Marlon Vera at UFC 252 in August. He’s currently scheduled to face Thomas Almeida at UFC 260 in March.
Pantoja, meanwhile, last saw action over the weekend against the touted Manel Kape. He won via unanimous decision.
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