Sean O’Malley returns at UFC 269 against the #15-ranked Raulian Paiva on Dec. 11 but is still catching flak for not fighting ranked fighters.
After the masses called for O’Malley to face a ranked opponent, they got their wish–even though Paiva isn’t the most recognizable name, O’Malley maintains he’s a ranked opponent nonetheless. Fresh off his beatdown of UFC newcomer Kris Moutinho, O’Malley’s stock couldn’t be higher.
“Suga” holds a professional record of 11-1. The 26-year-old was tasked with fighting Marlon Vera in his fifth UFC appearance. During the fight, O’Malley was doing well with kicks from range. However, while trying to disengage from the clinch, the rising star suffered an injury to his peroneal nerve and “Chito” capitalized. Shortly after O’Malley fell to the ground, Vera rained elbows from guard until the referee stepped in to stop the contest.
O’Malley, who is now on a two-fight winning streak, spoke on his podcast, the TimboSugarShow to address all of the antagonists giving him guff about not fighting ranked fighters.
“Now I’m fighting someone ranked, they’re like who’s this? O’Malley said.
Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt was the latest to attack O’Malley. The two sparked up some tension after gabbing back and forth on social media a little over a month ago.
“I hope you don’t get knocked out at strawweight because it won’t look as good when I knock you out. Good luck.” O’Malley posted.
Garbrandt was last seen in the Octagon against Rob Font in May. While the former 135-pound titleholder lost a unanimous decision, Garbrandt at least showcased his renewed durability. Following his most recent loss to Font, Garbrandt is taking his services to flyweight against Kai Kara-France at UFC 269.
As of this writing, it appears Garbrandt and Sean O’Malley are headed in different directions but will be fighting on the same card when December arrives. With the rivalry in their back pocket for now, perhaps the two will meet down the line.
Do you think Cody Garbrandt could grind Sean O’Malley out with wrestling?