Sean O’Malley is oozing with confidence after his Fight of the Night victory over Petr Yan at UFC 280 and believes it’s only a matter of time until he becomes champion.
The surging bantamweight defeated former champ Yan in a razor-close split decision that saw both men showcase a tremendous display of heart in a thrilling three-round affair that could have easily gone five rounds.
O’Malley believes he answered a lot of questions surrounding his durability and ability to compete at the championship level but was disappointed that he absorbed so many punches.
“It’s inevitable,” O’Malley said at the UFC 280 post-fight press conference (h/t MMA Junkie). “I turn 28 (Sunday), and I’m going to be in this sport for a long time. People want me to be champ, so it’s going to happen sooner or later.” “‘Kick his legs,’ was the first one. Now it’s ‘You can’t just kick his legs and take him down.’ Petr kicked my legs and took me down, and still (I) won. So yeah, I’m answering questions little by little.”
“I don’t want to get hit ever,” he added. “It’s not healthy. It’s not good to get punched on the head. It’s not good for you to have headaches. Ideally, I go in there and not get hit. But I think it makes it even sweeter, the story – I really had to show my heart.
“I got to go deep. I had to go somewhere mentally and physically I’ve never been before, and that’s what happens when you fight the best guys in the world.”
Many fighters disagreed with the decision but O’Malley outlanded Yan 84 to 58 in significant strikes overall and proved that he belongs in the upper echelon of the bantamweight division. His next fight will likely be against Aljamain Sterling, who TKO’d T.J. Dillashaw in the UFC 280 co-main event to retain his bantamweight championship.
About the author