Sean O’Malley has made it clear he wants to fight Petr Yan even if there isn’t a belt on the line.
After Aljamain Sterling wasn’t medically cleared to fight Yan at UFC 267, O’Malley called out the Russian to step up on short notice. The fight ultimately went to Cory Sandhagen but for O’Malley, it’s still a scrap he wants. He knows it would be a fun fight for the fans and the way their styles collide makes it that more intriguing for him.
“I want to fight Petr Yan. I know he’s the champ and you have to beat certain people to get that fight, but that’s a fight I want eventually,” O’Malley said to ESPN. “Even if he’s not the champ, that’s a fight I want. I think he’s one of the best pound-for-pound, top-three fighters in the world. I love his style, his boxing, the way he switches stances, covers up, his defense. He’s just so good. Every time he gets in there, it’s impressive. I like his humor, too. Obviously there’s a language barrier, but I enjoy his comedy on Twitter. He calls me a poodle. I find him very funny.”
Although Sean O’Malley wants to fight Yan, that likely won’t be anytime soon. “Suga” is not ranked and is set to fight Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 on Saturday but should he win that, then perhaps he gets a ranked opponent and starts to work his way up to a fight with Yan.
Yan, meanwhile, is waiting to rematch Sterling in their highly-anticipated bantamweight title fight. But, the Russian has trash-talked O’Malley on social media so it seems like he also wants the fight, but if they do end up fighting, Suga is confident he would get his hand raised.
“I can compete with Petr,” O’Malley said. “He has more high-level experience with guys – (Jose) Aldo, Cory (Sandhagen), Urijah (Faber). … But I think I’m just a different animal.”
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