Sean O’Malley has attempted to put Brian Kelleher in his place after claiming he would “smoke” the bantamweight in a fight.
O’Malley returned to action in March 2020 after two years on the sidelines. In his UFC 248 return, O’Malley finished Jose Quinonez with a first-round head kick and punches. He is now one of the most sought-after foes in the bantamweight division and only wants a worthwhile opponent. He shut down a callout from his fellow 135-pound fighter Kelleher.
“I got called out by nine guys when I was out for two years,” O’Malley said to MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast. “Some of them are going to help my career; fighting someone like Brian Kelleher is not going to do much. I think he’s 10-5 or something like that. He looks like he smokes cigarettes – he’s not going to do anything for my career. I’m definitely looking for smart fights – people that are going to up me. I go in and smoke [Kelleher], they’ll be like, ‘Cool, that kid sucks.’ It’s pointless to talk about guys like that.”
O’Malley has also been called out by multiple bantamweights including Kelleher and Merab Dvalishvili. The 25-year old likened the plethora of callouts he’s received to those received by Conor McGregor on his come-up.
He believes people still underestimate his fighting ability and looks forward to proving himself inside the Octagon.
“It’s good to be getting called out by a bunch of people,” O’Malley said. “Conor … was called out by everyone. I think the more I fight, the less I’m going to be called out, [because people will] recognize how dangerous I am.
“Right now, people still think, ‘I’m going to take him down and that’s going to be the end of the fight.’ It’s not going to be the end of the fight – I will choke someone if they take me down. I train jiu-jitsu more than I do anything. Jiu-jitsu is pretty much my life; I love jiu-jitsu, [and] I train it all the time. I train with really good people, but I haven’t got to show that too much.”
The UFC currently remains on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. That hasn’t stopped Sean O’Malley from keeping himself busy and considering his next move.
“When we’re about two months out, then we’ll talk to the UFC and we’ll figure out opponents,” he said. “If we had an opponent right now, he could break his arm. For me, it’s about getting better right now – it’s not about who we should fight next.”
Who do you want to see Sean O’Malley fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/17/2020.