Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans told MMA Fighting O’Malley and Smolka have verbally agreed to meet, though contracts have not yet been signed. Journalist Ryan Frederick was first to report the news.
O’Malley returns to the octagon after a highlight-reel knockout of Thomas Almeida at UFC 260, which put him back in the win column after an ankle injury preceded a TKO loss to Marlon Vera at UFC 252. The setback was O’Malley’s first in the octagon after a four-fight winning streak broken only by a run-in with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency over a tainted supplement.
Smolka is also on the upswing after a TKO victory over Jose Alberto Quinonez this past December at UFC Vegas 16. The win was a rebound after a submission loss to Casey Kenney this past May. The 29-year-old veteran has bounced between wins and losses in his past five outings.
UFC 264 marks the promotion’s return to the T-Mobile Arena after a long residency at the UFC APEX in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.