Henry Cejudo on Sean O’Malley: “I actually like the kid”

Sean O'Malley, Henry Cejudo

Former two-division UFC champ Henry Cejudo recently admitted that he actually has some respect for rising bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley.

Cejudo has had plenty in the way of trash talk for O’Malley lately, particularly after the prospect sustained the first loss of his career at the hands of Marlon Vera. On a recent episode of Real Quick with Mike Swick, however, Cejudo offered some rare praise for the up-and-comer—although he also questioned O’Malley’s toughness and heart.

“I’ll be honest with you, I actually like the kid. In some way I’m hating on him, in some ways I like him,” Cejudo said (via Bloody Elbow). “I’m weird like that. I wish the kid the best, but I also think that he thinks he’s better than what he really is. Even though he’s got the gifts, he’s got great distance, great demeanor, great fakes. Watching those like very subtle. I look at all these minor little details but he hasn’t been built to freaking last.

“He hasn’t been through a war. You can give the pain but can you take the pain? That’s the difference between somebody like Sean O’Malley and me. Does he have better striking than me? Probably because of his length and his range, makes him a little dangerous. But you’ve just got to be the full package.”

Many fans have questioned the way that O’Malley has handled his loss to Vera. Cejudo seems to have similar concerns about the prospect, but he did give him props for believing in himself.

“He actually believes in his own smoke, as you should. But there’s a difference when you get in there with somebody that can kick you. Somebody that’s not going to shy away from you. Somebody that’s going to put you through the deep waters and how are you going to respond? A true champion is revealed by how you respond to adversity.”

Are you surprised by these comments from Henry Cejudo?