UFC bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley has explained why a rematch with previous opponent Pedro Munhoz was never on the table.
Following a disappointing outcome at UFC 276, where an unintentional eye poke from O’Malley resulted in a no contest being called in his fight versus Munhoz, “Sugar” hasn’t slowed down in his pursuit of greatness — in fact, he’s taken a sizeable leap that not many would have expected.
Having looked for a quick turnaround after taking no damage against “The Young Punisher,” O’Malley has been placed in a matchup with former champion and current #1-ranked contender Petr Yan. The pair are set to collide on a stacked UFC 280 pay-per-view card in Abu Dhabi on October 22.
While the bout, which provides the #13-ranked O’Malley with the chance to secure a massive rise up the bantamweight ladder, has gotten many fans excited, some have suggested that it’s not the right move on the UFC’s part.
Prior to the announcement, former titleholder Michael Bisping suggested that a rematch with Munhoz was the natural next step for the Montana native. Well, O’Malley recently told “The Count” why he’s wrong.
O’Malley: “That Ship Has Sailed”
During a recent appearance on Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast, O’Malley was asked whether there was any talk of running it back with perennial top-10 contender Munhoz prior to the bout with Yan being made.
In response, O’Malley once again reiterated his belief that Munhoz searched for a way out on July 2 after failing to inflict any damage during the fight. With that in mind, “Sugar” doesn’t see any need for him to run it back with a man who already had the “option” to face him.
“That ship has sailed. I mean, there’s no reason (for a rematch),” O’Malley said. “I’m talking to a guy (Bisping) who fought with one eye. You watch that replay back, you can say I poked him in the eye a little bit. I mean, Jared Cannonier, two fights later, got stabbed through the eyeball and continued to fight. So, to say a rematch would be — he had the option to fight.
“He said it was back-to-back eye pokes. You can go watch the entire fight in slow motion, you’re not gonna see another eye poke… There’s no point (in a rematch). Go look at the stats. Look how many times he hit me in the head, look how many times he hit me in the body, how many losses do I have?” O’Malley added whilst making ‘zero’ gestures for each statement. “There’s no point going back to fight him.”
While O’Malley initially apologized to Munhoz during an embrace in the cage, he has since sought to spread a narrative surrounding the Brazilian’s willingness to fight that night in Las Vegas.
Though he clearly already sees Munhoz in his back mirror, O’Malley will look to reflect that sentiment in the UFC bantamweight rankings by leapfrogging him, and whole host of other contenders, by dispatching Yan on October 22.
Is Sean O’Malley right? Is a rematch with Pedro Munhoz not required following their no contest at UFC 276?