Sunday, August 14, 2022

O’Malley Believes His UFC Rise Is More Favorable Than Chimaev’s

UFC bantamweight Sean O’Malley believes he has followed a ‘smarter’ route to the top than welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev.

Since breaking onto the scene with a memorable knockout during the 2017 season of Dana White‘s Contender Series, O’Malley has gone about developing his blossoming stardom, both inside and outside of the Octagon.

Within the steel surroundings of the cage, “Sugar” has gone 7-1 (1), including a trio of wins and bonuses in 2021. The fact that all of his wins came against unranked opponents is perhaps a testament to O’Malley’s work beyond the sport, which has seen him produce merchandise, a successful Twitch stream, and podcasts.

And despite only facing his first top-10 foe last weekend, O’Malley’s budding stardom has left him self-claiming top spot among bantamweights when it comes to drawing power, as well as rewarded by the UFC earlier this year with a new lucrative contract.

While he’s seen some other surging stars, including Chimaev, experience rapid rises towards the top of the UFC ladder, O’Malley believes he’s done things just right.

O’Malley: How Much Has Chimaev Made Compared To Me?

During a recent appearance on The Pivot podcast, O’Malley discussed his rise from prospect to well-known MMA star and bantamweight contender. Before addressing the fighting side of his appeal, “Sugar” described the benefit of his “gradual” progression up the stardom scale.

“I’ve had like, a slow, gradual increase of fame,” O’Malley said. “I’ve learned how to deal with it, rather than just overnight… I feel like getting famous slowly helped me transition and be okay with it.”

While his fame has consistently risen, O’Malley’s level of competition hasn’t seen as steep an incline, with the 27-year-old even suggesting he wouldn’t fight top bantamweights until his contract improved.

To prove that his decision was a wise one, O’Malley cited the ascension of Khamzat Chimaev, who went from debut to a top-five opponent in just four fights. While the Chechen-born Swede has experienced a faster surge to the top, O’Malley, who prides himself on his business acumen, suggested that “Borz” has made significantly less money than he has in doing so.

“I think if you look at how much he’s made compared to how much I’ve made, I’ve made quite a bit more and I’ve fought quite a bit less-skilled guys,” O’Malley said. “So, for me, it’s a business. I’ve made over a million dollars fighting guys that aren’t in the top 15. He’s fighting his — whatever fight, for probably not that much money. He’s fighting Gilbert Burns.

“If you want me to fight the number three, fourth-ranked guy in my third or fourth fight in the UFC, I’m not fighting for 40/40. I need to get paid good. So I think, when I look at those guys, it’s like, that’s not smart,” O’Malley continued. “You should be getting paid bigger to fight those big guys, and I’m sure he [Chimaev] wasn’t getting paid that crazy an amount… What I’ve done, fighting the guys for the money I fought, makes sense.”

Do you agree with Sean O’Malley? Has his rise been ‘smarter’ than Khamzat Chimaev’s?

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