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“Sean Shelby wanted that fight,” White said. “I said, ‘Are you out of your mind? You don’t make that fight now.’ … He ended up selling me on it.”
Yan, who is No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie bantamweight rankings, is a significant step up in competition for O’Malley, but “The Suga Show” is confident that he can take out the former champion Oct. 22 and didn’t seem bothered by White’s sentiment.
“I don’t know,” O’Malley said Wednesday on “The MMA Hour.” “I’m not really looking at it either way. Once I faceplant Petr into the canvas, Dana will be like, ‘OK, that was a good fight.’ Regardless, me vs. Petr is an epic fight, a sweet, sweet kickboxing fight if I had to guess – two very high-level strikers, two very high-level MMA fighters, and it’s gonna be a very interesting fight. I believe I have what it takes to put Petr’s lights out.”
O’Malley, 27, is coming off a no contest against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 where an accidental eye poke in Round 2 rendered Munhoz unable to continue. O’Malley said he doesn’t feel any added motivation to prove White wrong.
“No, not at all,” O’Malley said. “I think Dana really likes me. I f*cking love Dana. So I think with him saying that, it was no disrespect or anything. It’s just his opinion, and anybody could have their own opinion. I don’t really care. I think that fight gets Dana excited. Dana’s been doing this for a long time. He could be getting burnt out of it, (watching) fights every weekend. What fight is gonna make Dana go, ‘I need to watch that fight, I have to watch that, I have to know what happened’? There are very few fights (coming up).”
O’Malley vs. Yan is one of them.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 280.