UFC president Dana White says Sean O’Malley is poised to be ‘a big global superstar’ with a win over Petr Yan at UFC 280 on Saturday.
Comparing the upcoming fight to Conor McGregor vs. José Aldo at UFC 194, White told Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports that O’Malley could become even more popular should he add a former champion to his resume.
“There was this comparison recently where Sean O’Malley said, ‘I would love to be the next Conor McGregor and be a big global superstar,’” said White. “Well, it’s about winning key fights. “He’s already got that thing that people like about him. Now, it’s about winning key fights. This fight for him is like Conor’s Jose Aldo fight.”
McGregor dethroned then-UFC featherweight champion Aldo in 13 seconds, which was widely considered one of the greatest KOs in UFC history. O’Malley has predicted a similar fate for his opponent, but Yan cautioned ‘Sugar’ from getting his hopes up.
During his media day appearance, ‘No Mercy’ told assembled media that certain aspects of McGregor vs. Aldo are similar to his fight against O’Malley. However, there is going to be a major difference when they share the Octagon.
“Considering the other side of things, you can definitely compare it to Conor-Aldo fight,” said Yan (video provided by MMA Fighting). “Sean is a UFC product and a Conor wannabe, but the result of this match-up will be different.
“You saw my fight with Aldo already,” continued Yan.
Yan won the then-vacant UFC bantamweight championship with a fifth-round TKO of Aldo at UFC 251 over two years ago. Though he has fewer rounds to try and get the finish against O’Malley, the Russian is still confident he will get it done.
“I realize it’s three rounds, it’s a different distance,” said Yan. “I need to be as focused as I was before, just need to be more sharp.”
UFC 280 goes down on Sat., Oct. 22, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
About the author