Sean O’Malley unbothered by loss to Marlon Vera ahead of UFC 299 rematch: ‘Look where I’m at now’

MIAMI – Sean O'Malley is making his first UFC bantamweight title defense against the only man to beat him, and he’s not fazed at all.

O’Malley returns to the cage against Marlon Vera in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 299 (pay-per-view, ESPNews, ESPN+). Despite having an official loss to Vera (21-8-1 MMA, 15-7 UFC), O’Malley (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is keeping his confidence at an all-time high and doesn’t count it as a loss on his record.

“Yeah, that fight never necessarily bothered me,” O’Malley said. “Look where I’m at now. That fight plays out a different way, I win that fight, and then next fight I fight somebody I wasn’t ready for, and I lose, and my career completely plays out differently. So I go out there and knock out Thomas Almeida like seven times with a beautiful performance, so I’m just grateful for everything that’s happened, but yeah, that fight has never really bothered me. I’m excited to go out there and do what I was going to do in that first fight.”

Both O’Malley and Vera fought back in 2020. Vera won by first-round TKO after damaging O’Malley’s leg with a kick and then finishing him on the ground with strikes.

Although O’Malley is not counting the loss to Vera, he assures he’s not underestimating him.

“His durability,” O’Malley said when asked about Vera’s attributes. “He’s hard to put away. If you can’t put him away, you better be ready to go for 25 minutes, so I plan on a 25-minute war.”

If O’Malley were to lose Saturday, he’d count the defeat as a first to Vera and not a second.

“If he were to beat me, he’d beat me once,” O’Malley said. “It’s that simple.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 299.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie