Despite being a fan-favorite, Sean O'Malley is currently unranked in the UFC's bantamweight (135lbs) division. The 26-year-old is yet to place himself in the division's upper echelon despite having fought stiff competition so far.
Fighting a ranked fighter would perhaps enable Sean O'Malley to leap into the top 15. However, the MMA Lab pupil claims to be better off fighting unranked fighters than top-tier bantamweights. He said on a recent podcast with No Jumper that the compensation provided by the UFC to fight elite fighters isn't worth the risk.
O'Malley further stated that he is contractually bound to fight a certain amount of times for the promotion. Hence, regardless of the opponent, the BJJ brown belt is paid a set remuneration.
“They wanted me to fight someone ranked last fight. I was supposed to fight Louis Smolka (at UFC 264). For me, I have a contract to fight a certain amount of fights, and I’m gonna get paid a certain amount of money whether I fight Louis Smolka, the dude I was supposed to fight, or I fight Petr Yan, the No. 1 bantamweight in the UFC. I get paid the same. I’m gonna fight this dude (who is lower)," said Sean O'Malley.
Check out O'Malley's podcast with No Jumper below:
Sean O'Malley also lashed out at UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby recently regarding fighter pay. He said on the BrO'Malley podcast that UFC brass tried to strong-arm him to accept a fight on the UFC 268 fight card.
O'Malley turned the fight down for an array of reasons. Despite being a significant draw for the company, O'Malley believes he is being treated like any other fighter.
“He [Sean Shelby] said, ‘I know you’re going to be asking for a lot of money’. It’s like, no s**t! I’m pulling f**king numbers, dude. You can’t deny that. It’s like, why do they have a problem paying someone what they’re worth? That shouldn’t be an issue. That should be like, especially when I’m blowing up like that. Those last two fights – Third-round finishes – Handing out brain damage," said Sean O'Malley.
Check out Sean O'Malley's podcast below:
Who does the UFC want Sean O'Malley to fight next?
According to Ariel Helwani, the UFC plans to match Sean O'Malley against No.8-ranked bantamweight Frankie Edgar next.
Edgar, a former undisputed lightweight champion, is coming off a devastating loss to Cory Sandhagen.
Check out the obliterating defeat via flying knee below:
Meanwhile, Sean O'Malley was victorious in his last fight against Kris Moutinho via TKO at UFC 264.
Despite being on the tail-end of his prime, Frankie Edgar will undoubtedly be a level up in competition for Sean O'Malley.
Do you think 'Sugar' will extend his winning streak to three if matched up against a former champion in Frankie Edgar? Comment below!