As Sean O’Malley closes in on a title fight with bantamweight champion Petr Yan, he’s keen to avoid a mistake made by MMA superstar Conor McGregor.
O’Malley is easily one of the most promising prospects in MMA right now, and he’s already on the radar of many of his division’s top fighters, including former champions Henry Cejudo and Cody Garbrandt, and the reigning champion Yan.
While that’s due in large part to his skill, it also has a lot to do with his trash talk.
“I’m easily the most talked about guy in the division,” O’Malley told MMA Fighting. “I’m talking a lot of smack about Petr, Cody, Henry, all these dudes, and they’re all replying. I’m clearly in Petr’s head, or Pete-R, whatever you want to call him. He’s thinking about me. I think he’s dreaming about me, waking up and asking someone to help him tweet something.”
Despite the trash talk he’s fired in the direction of fighters like Cejudo, Garbrandt and Yan, O’Malley says his fights will never be personal.
Allowing fights to become personal, he added, is a crucial mistake that other fighters—including the former two-division champion and MMA superstar Conor McGregor—have made previously.
“Nothing’s personal,” O’Malley explained. “Short little people like Petr and Cody and Henry have short man syndrome, and they get angry at things and it’s personal. For me, it’s always going to be business. I think Conor [McGregor] was really good at that until the Khabib [Nurmagomedov] fight. I feel like that got too personal, and it played games with him. I definitely learned from that experience with Conor vs. Khabib, I can’t let it get personal.”
Sean O’Malley last fought at UFC 250, when he picked up a jaw-dropping first-round knockout win over former WEC champion Eddie Wineland. The victory earned him the No. 14 spot in the UFC bantamweight rankings, and set him up for a fight with Ecuador’s Marlon Vera, scheduled for UFC 252 on August 15.