Sean O’Malley believes he’s closing in on a bantamweight title shot.
The undefeated prospect will return to the Octagon on June 6 at UFC 250 against Eddie Wineland. Should O’Malley win, it seems likely he will get a ranked opponent next. And, given the state of the bantamweight division, the 25-year-old believes he’s only a few wins from a title shot.
“There’s four people they talk about for the bantamweight title,” O’Malley said to The Luke Thomas Show (h/t MMAFighting). “No one is really standing out. No one is really like, ‘This is who we want to be our champ.’ I win a couple more fights, I’m that guy. I’m the guy that people are gonna want to see, the bantamweight champ. And I’m gonna go out there and perform like I did last time, against Eddie (Wineland), and whoever I fight next, I’m gonna go out there and do the same thing.
“I’m only a couple fights away from the title, because if you look at the rankings, they don’t really matter. You had Jose Aldo ranked, what, number six in the bantamweight division? He’s never even won. You had Dominick Cruz coming off a loss fight (for the belt). The rankings don’t matter. I think those top four dudes right now, (Aljamain) Sterling, (Petr) Yan, Cory (Sandhagen), and . . . Marlon (Moraes), those top four dudes are killers. They’re high level blackbelts in MMA. But no one is talking about them. No one is like, ‘That’s the dude.’ No one is that interested. I’m that guy. I’m the guy that’s going to come, knock these dudes out, get my title shot, and I’m gonna be champ. It’s gonna be people want to see me there, and it’s going to be exciting.”
Sean O’Malley knows Wineland is a proper step up in competition but he expects to get his hand raised. Once he does that, he believes 2021 is the year he fights for the belt.
“Yeah, probably (I’ll fight for the belt next year). I’m honestly not in a hurry,” O’Malley said. “It depends how much the UFC, if they’re gonna pay me what they pay me now I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I fight other guys.’ If you want to pay me more money to fight better guys, I’ll fight the better guys. But I’m not going to fight the better guys right now with the money you’re paying me right now. It just doesn’t make sense from a business perspective. From a fighter’s mind, I want to obviously fight the best guys in the world. I want to be champ. But in a business mindset, it’s like, ‘Okay, you’re going to pay me this amount, I’m gonna fight someone that’s not the best in the world right now.’ So it totally depends on what the UFC wants to pay.”