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Morning Report: Sean O’Malley believes he’d knock out Cody Garbrandt but ‘there’s no way he takes that fight’

Sean O’ Malley Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Saturday night at UFC 250, Sean O’Malley put on the best performance of his career to date, knocking out former WEC champion Eddie Wineland in the first round. It was a highlight reel knockout that looked to be the talk of the event, until it was overshadowed just a few fights later when former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt finished Raphael Assuncao with one of the best KOs of the year. Garbrandt’s KO was so good, even O’Malley had to tip the hat to him, and now “Suga” seems interested in a bout with Garbrandt, if “No Love” will take it.

“Yeah, absolutely. 100 percent. I feel like I’d knock Cody out,” O’Malley told ESPN yesterday. “I mean, he looked more improved Saturday, for sure. He looked like he was more calculated, more calm. He looked very much improved from his previous getting knocked out three times. So, he did improve. I think he is high-level. He’s a very, very dangerous opponent. Anyone that just throws bombs like that is dangerous. I feel like I’m calculated enough, accurate enough, and skill-wise enough to be able to knock him out. So that’s a win-win fight for me.”

Garbrandt’s win on Saturday was his first since 2016, when he won the bantamweight championship against Dominick Cruz. Since then, he had been knocked out three fights in a row and his once bright future looked to be in trouble. The win over Assuncao was a return to form for the former champion and put him right back in the thick of the title conversation. So given that, O’Malley thinks that, unfortunately, Garbrandt would not accept a fight with him.

“There’s no way he takes that fight. There’s no way he takes that fight, it’s a lose-lose for him,” O’Malley said. “One, he’s probably going to get knocked out and two he’s fighting someone that has a lot of hype, but if he beats me people will say, ‘oh you (should have),’ so it’s a lose-lose for him I feel like. I’m sure they’d avoid that fight.”

O’Malley could be right. In the post-fight press conference, Garbrandt had mixed comments for O’Malley, saying there is no comparison between their two careers but also saying he liked O’Malley’s style and suggested he get a few more wins and he’d “see you at the top, buddy.”

Then there’s the matter of whether the UFC would want to set up the fight anyway. Thus far, the UFC have brought O’Malley along slowly. Booking him against Cody Garbrandt would be a massive step up in competition for their burgeoning talent with possibly the most star potential on the roster. This week, O’Malley is expected to enter the UFC rankings for the first time and so a fight with a lower-end top-15 opponent would make more sense for the promotion. And if that’s the case, O’Malley says he’s fine with that, just know he’s ready to make the leap if the UFC is willing.

“I put myself right up there with the top three guys in the world,” O’Malley said. “I need to keep building my highlight reel. I want to be able to look back on my career and have a 20 minute long, nonstop highlight reel. That’s just kind of my style. . . So yeah, I have no issues with taking less ranked opponents and going out there and not getting rushed, but I’m also down if they’re like, ‘Hey, let’s fight this dude.’ I’m ready.”


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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