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Sean O’Malley eyes at least two fights in 2022, ‘killing spree’ in 2023

Sean O’Malley
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The Sean O’Malley takeover may have to wait another year.

O’Malley stated on his Suga Sunday Service podcast that his appearances in 2022 could be limited as he recovers from a thumb injury suffered in his recent win over Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 in December. According to the official list of medical suspensions, O’Malley could be out until June pending clearance from an orthopedic doctor.

“I can’t fight March 5, it’s too soon,” O’Malley said. “And I don’t think they’re having a Vegas card in April, in May. I might not fight for a while.”

With a first-round finish of Paiva, O’Malley ran his current win streak to three with all of those victories coming by way of KO/TKO. O’Malley is 7-1 in the UFC so far since being signed by the promotion off of Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017.

O’Malley is well aware that fans have been clamoring for him to continue to stay active after logging three UFC appearances in 2020 and 2021 and that he is expected to eventually take a larger step up in competition. However, O’Malley — who recently made his MMA Fighting Global Rankings debut tied for the No. 14 spot at bantamweight — has said on multiple occasions that as long as his paycheck remains the same, he doesn’t care who he fights.

The 27-year-old is looking at his time off as a chance to sharpen his skills once he’s cleared to train. He then plans use the rest of the year to prove his value to the UFC before going on a serious run up the ladder in 2023.

“I look at it one way way. If I don’t fight until June or July, it just gives me time to get better and improve,” O’Malley said. “That’s where—I haven’t been able to train since my fight. I’ve had a f*cking fractured thumb since my fight. I haven’t been able to train, so I haven’t been able to improve since the fight until now. I get my cast off soon. That’ll give me a couple of months to improve.

“I’m not too worried about it, ideally I get three fights in a year. That’s kind of where my head’s at. I don’t know if it’s more money or if it’s —ah, I think it’s competition, I love competing. But I just want to get back in the gym and improve. So if I only fight two, if I get one in July and November or December, I might only get two this year. Fight out the contract, and then boom, into 2023 with a fat f*cking contract and just go on a killing spree.”