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Dana White compares UFC 280 to Sean O’Malley’s Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo moment

UFC 276: Munhoz v O’Malley Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Sean O’Malley wants to become a global superstar on the level of Conor McGregor, but he acknowledges he’s not there quite yet.

A win over a former bantamweight champion at UFC 280 might do the job, however, as O’Malley prepares to clash with Petr Yan in a featured bout on the main card on Saturday from Abu Dhabi.

It turns out UFC President Dana White feels exactly the same regarding O’Malley’s potential as a massive draw for the company but he still needs marquee wins on his resume — just like McGregor did once upon a time in the past.

“There was this comparison recently where Sean O’Malley said, ‘I would love to be the next Conor McGregor and be a big global superstar,’” White relayed when speaking to Barstool Sports. “Well, it’s about winning key fights.

“He’s already got that thing that people like about him. Now, it’s about winning key fights. This fight for him is like Conor’s Jose Aldo fight.”

Back in 2015, McGregor was already a huge star for the UFC. The Irish upstart rattled off six straight wins before claiming the interim featherweight title with a second-round TKO of Chad Mendes.

Six months later, McGregor knocked out Aldo in just 13 seconds in what was one of the best finishes in UFC history. By then, he was already on the biggest draws in the UFC, but the victory over Aldo catapulted him into a category all his own in driving revenue for fights.

While it’s impossible to know if O’Malley could pull off something quite so spectacular in his fight against Yan. But he’ll have the chance to steal the show when the bantamweights clash at UFC 280.

White said O’Malley definitely has some physical advantages working in his favor, though he’s quick to praise Yan as the toughest challenge the one-time Contender Series winner has faced.

“This is one of those fights where Petr Yan is the No. 1 ranked guy in the world, O’Malley is 27 years old, he’s 15-1, he’s got the experience for this fight,” White said.

“He’s got the reach and height advantage. He’s got knockout power. He’s got all the tools to win this fight. He’s just got to get out there and do it. It’s no easy task. Petr Yan is an absolute savage.”

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