John McCarthy and Josh Thomson have suggested that Sean O’Malley was “smart” to reject a matchup with Frankie Edgar, albeit for different reasons than “Sugar” gave.
O’Malley was last in action at UFC 264 in July. After the late withdrawal of Louis Smolka, the bantamweight prospect opened the main card with promotional newcomer Kris Moutinho. In an incredible display of toughness, the debutant nearly survived the full 15 minutes despite eating a record-breaking number of significant strikes.
In the end, O’Malley secured the TKO victory with less than 30 seconds of the bout remaining. Despite not collecting the highlight-reel finish he’d hoped for, and much of the talk after the pay-per-view surrounding Moutinho’s chin, O’Malley once again showed his talent on the feet.
During an appearance on Logan Paul’s Impaulsive podcast, Sean O’Malley revealed that he’d been offered a fight with Frankie Edgar at UFC 268 on November 6. However, the 26-year-old cited New York’s taxes and a grappling tournament his coach Tim Welch is set to attend on the same day as his reasons for turning down the clash.
“They offered me Frankie Edgar, which would have been a fucking sweet fight, in New York on a day that Tim [Welch] has a huge grappling tournament and he had a tournament before I had a fight, that’s his date. I didn’t wanna fight in New York anyway. So, I could be fighting Frankie Edgar but I’m not.” (h/t Sportskeeda)
Despite O’Malley seemingly suggesting he’d be keen to fight “The Answer” in the future, former referee John McCarthy and former UFC lightweight Josh Thomson believe he should be avoiding names like Edgar at the moment.
With “Sugar” having previously stated his intention to fight unranked names until his contract becomes more lucrative, the two MMA analysts believe it’s within the bantamweight star’s best interests to turn down big names.
“Sugar Sean [O’Malley], he’s got a little bit of say right now but he’s being smart,” Thomson said during an episode of the Weighing In podcast. “He’s talking and calling out people’s names but he doesn’t want the big names. Like, he turned down the Frankie Edgar fight, at least that’s what I’m told. Smart.”
In the same vein, McCarthy suggested that if the money is the same, O’Malley is better of fighting small names and building his stock rather than jumping into the Octagon with the top contenders at 135 pounds.
“Look at the contract he came in on. He came in on the Dana White‘s Contender Series. Those guys aren’t making a lot of money and Sean understands, ‘hey if I’m going to fight in this promotion, which I like fighting in and it’s done a lot of good for my social media and all these other things and people now know who I am. But why am I gonna fight Frankie Edgar when they’ll give me Joe Smith and I’ll make the same amount of money? I’ll go with Joe Smith.'”
With O’Malley making the decision not to fight in November, Edgar will instead face Marlon Vera, who is the only man to have had his hand raised against “Sugar.” The former UFC lightweight champion will be looking to rebound from his brutal loss to Cory Sandhagen earlier this year.
“Chito,” meanwhile, will be looking to continue his momentum following his impressive victory over England’s Davey Grant in June. In what he claims will be a “boring” fight, O’Malley believes Vera will take home the victory.
Despite not boasting the charismatic O’Malley on the card, UFC 268 is still one of the most stacked events of the year and looks set to mark the UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden in style.
Do you think Sean O’Malley should face an opponent on Frankie Edgar’s level next?