O’Malley (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) meets former champion Yan (16-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC 280 on Oct. 22, the same night that Dillashaw challenges bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling for the title.
Yan will mark a significant step up for O’Malley, who’s coming off a no contest against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 in July. Dillashaw acknowledges that O’Malley is widely popular but thinks Yan will be too much for him.
“Yeah, absolutely surprised (by the booking), for sure,” Dillashaw told MMA Junkie. “O’Malley has never done anything to fight a guy of Petr Yan’s caliber, other than hype himself up. He does have a lot of fans, he does have a lot of hype, and he’s worked his ass off to get that. Part of the sport is being a salesman, and he’s done a very good job with that.
“So, he’s great for the sport. He’s great for our weight class and bringing a lot of attention. I don’t see him winning, but he’s got some range on him, and he’s got a pace, and we’ll see. But most likely Yan is going to be able to run through him.”
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Dillashaw (17-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) could see himself fighting the winner of Yan vs. O’Malley should he get past Sterling but also has his eyes on Jose Aldo. “The King of Rio” faces Merab Dvalishvili on Saturday’s UFC 278 main card at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
“Him or Aldo,” Dillashaw said. “I mean, Aldo’s been making a great statement, as well, too, so we’ll see which way the UFC wants to take it after I get out there and get my belt back.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s fight hub for UFC 280.