Sean O'Malley Welcomes Hate From 'Jealous' Bantamweights Ahead Of UFC 292 Title Shot: 'Sucks To Be Them'
10 months on from securing the opportunity, UFC bantamweight Sean O’Malley is finally set for his first title shot on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage.
Later tonight, the #2-ranked contender will make the walk inside Boston’s TD Garden to challenge his division’s reigning champion in the UFC 292 pay-per-view main event.
Thus far into his reign, Aljamain Sterling has already amassed the most consecutive title defenses in UFC bantamweight history. That’s courtesy of successful retentions opposite Petr Yan, TJ Dillashaw, and Henry Cejudo.
In the eyes of some, the challenge awaiting “Funk Master” in Massachusetts will be his most favorable to date. That sentiment has been shared by a number of peers, who along with Sterling have branded O’Malley underserving of the chance at title glory.
That, “Sugar” feels, is nothing but jealousy.
O’Malley Enjoys Spurring ‘Jealousy’ In His Division
During an interview with Bloody Elbow’s Eddie Mercado, O’Malley addressed the views on his first title shot in the UFC among the fanbase and his fellow 135-pound contenders.
Having been granted the opportunity on the back of a victory over Yan that marked his first success against ranked opposition, the 28-year-old Montana native’s rise has been frequently branded the product of “Dana White privilege.”
While O’Malley hasn’t denied that his push up the ladder has been an easier one than most, he thinks his detractors in the division are simply “jealous” that they haven’t found themselves in the same position.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to what everyone’s saying,” O’Malley said. “I think there’s a lot of jealous fighters, for sure. A lot of jealous fighters, a lot of ‘Sugar’ haters that don’t wanna see it. The ‘Sugar’ fans, there’s more of them. So, I know my people, the ‘Sugar’ fans, are very excited about it. We’ve earned this shot, and that’s it.
“The Petr Yan fight, completely had to bring the dog out. I had to give every single last but of what I had in me to get the job done. I don’t think I turned the haters into ‘Sugar’ fans. I think I just made them hate me a little bit more because I’m as good as they don’t want me to be… I enjoy that, I like that,” O’Malley continued. “You gotta a bunch of people jealous, bantamweight that wish they were in my position now but they’re not. Sucks to be them.”
Believing that every triumph he experiences in the cage makes his haters even more agitated, O’Malley will hope to send them into overdrive this weekend by earning the ultimate prize.
Although that task will certainly be easier said than done given Sterling’s form and momentum on the back of a narrow win over “Triple C,” O’Malley has vowed to leave “Funk Master” sleeping come fight night.
Your main event matchup by the numbers 📊Who's leaving #UFC292 as the bantamweight king!?[ B2YB #HeartOfStone, only on @Netflix ] pic.twitter.com/n1xWftgZSy
— UFC (@ufc) August 19, 2023
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