O’Malley, the current #12-ranked 135lber on MMA’s biggest stage, will have the chance to secure a sizable leap up the ladder and into title contention at UFC 280 next weekend when he meets former champion Yan in Abu Dhabi.
Given the 11 places between the pair in the bantamweight rankings, the matchup came as a shock to many, especially considering that O’Malley’s sole outing against ranked opposition ended in a no contest this past July.
While that belief has led some to write off his chances on October 22, O’Malley’s self-belief hasn’t dwindled. Part of that is due to his confidence in one of his attributes being a level above every other bantamweight in the division.
O’Malley Looks To Utilize A Familiar Attribute Against Yan
During a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, O’Malley looked ahead to what is certainly set to be the stiffest test of his blossoming mixed martial arts career to date.
After being asked about his speed, which helped him record a trio of knockouts and Performance of the Night bonuses in 2021, “Sugar” branded his fast hands as the area in which he stands head and shoulders above the rest.
“My speed is definitely my biggest advantage, I’d say,” O’Malley said. “There’s not gonna be any fight I ever go into that my speed isn’t gonna be my biggest asset and something I think is gonna play a huge role in the fight. This fight’s no different.
“I do think Petr will be probably the fastest guy I’ve fought. But I’ve had really, really good training partners. I’ve had some good guys, good kickboxers that are fast. It’s hard for me sometimes to find guys who are as quick as me. But my sparring partners have been awesome,” O’Malley added. “I’ve had very good preparation for Petr Yan.”
O’Malley will be looking to use his speed to great affect again, not just to have his hand raised, but in order to become the first man to stop Yan inside the distance in professional MMA.
If the 27-year-old Montana native is to be believed, that is certainly a possibility come fight night.
This story originally appeared on MMANews.com. Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.