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(Sean O'Malley photo courtesy of Sanabul Sports)
Sean O'Malley has three fights left on his UFC contract and plans on fighting them out, but believes that he's worth a lot more than he's being paid.
"Sugar" has star power written all over him. He has a substantial social media following. He has seven fights inside the octagon and a nearly unblemished record of 14-1. He has several potential big fights in his future, but he wants to be paid as a headliner to headline an event.
O'Malley's willing to take on ranked fighters with name value, though, and was offered a match against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. The date and location weren't in line with O'Malley's timeframe to return.
"At the end of the day, the UFC picks (who I fight). They offered me Frankie Edgar. I would love to fight Frankie. He's a top ten guy I think, and he's a big-name guy," O'Malley said during an appearance on The MMA Hour. "I said, yeah, I'll fight Frankie on December 11 in Las Vegas. I would love that fight. That's the fight I was hoping for. That's the matchup that I wanted."
O'Malley would also be willing to face former two-time bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 269 in December.
"I"d also fight Dominick Cruz on December 11th. That's a fight I'd take. He's a top ten guy and I'm getting paid whatever I'm getting paid. To be honest, I feel like I'm one of the biggest stars in the UFC, and if you see what I make, it doesn't show that," O'Malley said.
While O'Malley believes his contractual pay to fight should be higher, he also understands that the UFC gives him a platform that ultimately builds his other endeavors and gives him other revenue opportunities.
"I understand that the UFC gives me a platform to be able to go out there and be able to see merch and get all these sponsors," O'Malley said. "It gives me eyeballs for YouTube, Twitch, merch, all these other things. I'm not being paid directly from the UFC a lot, but I am getting eyeballs. I'm getting money outside of it from the UFC, so it's a perspective thing."
Being a UFC fighter is good for marketing and branding, but O'Malley wants to get paid to face the best in the world.
"If I'm going to make the money I'm making right now, why go up there and fight the toughest guys in the world? Why not fight these three fights not fighting the toughest guys in the world, renegotiate my contract and then make real money fighting real guys," O'Malley questioned. "I have three more fights on my contract and we'll see where it goes. I'm just going with the flow."
"I feel like I'm the main draw at 135. I'm the biggest name at 135. There are a lot of sweet, sweet, interesting fights at 135 that I'd love to be part of. Obviously, I want to be paid fairly. I really want to fight these three fights out and then start talking big names," he said. "I don't think I should be main eventing for the money I'm making right now. I think I should be getting paid more."