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Morning Report: Sean O’Malley unsure why higher-ranked fighters don’t call him out: ‘They know it’s a tough fight’

UFC 276 Press Conference Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Sean O’Malley can no longer call himself the “unranked champion” after earning the No. 13 spot in the official UFC rankings following his most recent win over Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 in Dec. 2021.

The 27-year-old’s unique personality and exciting skill set has made him a must-see fighter since entering the octagon in Dec. 2017. Seven fights later and “Sugar” has been nearly perfect, securing knockout victories in five of his seven UFC victories.

Unsurprisingly coming along with that number next to his name has continued to be great opportunities on big cards, but not because his fellow competitors have gone out of their way to call his name.

“No one really above me ever calls me out,” O’Malley told ESPN. “Now Adrian Yanez is calling me out, which he should be. That’s what you should be [doing] — you call out the most popular guy in the division, one of the most popular guys in the UFC. Call him out.

“No one above me calls me out. I don’t know why. I don’t know if [they think] it’s a waste of time, they don’t want to make any easy paycheck. They can say whatever they want but I look at it as they know it’s a tough fight.”

Currently riding a three-fight win streak, O’Malley may start having people speak his name at a more frequent clip if he can extend that to four this Saturday night. At UFC 276 in Las Vegas, O’Malley gets perhaps his stiffest test yet in ninth-ranked Pedro Munhoz.

With Munhoz never having been finished in 27 career bouts, O’Malley is making it a goal and prediction that he’ll be the first to do so. Despite that expected outcome, he doesn’t expect a lot to change in terms of criticism.

“I think it opens a lot of people’s eyes but I still think people are stupid and people will be like, ‘Yeah, but...’” O’Malley said. “I think I go out there and put his lights out, I’ll surprise a lot of people but there’ll still be the haters that are like, ‘Yeah, but he’s this old, he lost to this guy...’ There’s still those people but I think for me it’s an advantage because people underestimate me. Every opponent underestimates me because of the hair, the outfits, for whatever reason it is. Then I get in there with them and it’s like, oh, he is as good as he says he is. It’s not just talk. Even with the performances I put on people still underestimate me. Maybe I am as good as I say I am, we just gotta find out against Pedro, July 2.”


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Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck discusses where Sean O’Malley goes with a UFC 276 win over Pedro Munhoz.


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UFC 276 should be quite something. I have a feeling we’ll have plenty to talk about next week. Enjoy the weekend and holidays, gang! Thanks for reading!



Who wins tomorrow?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Sean O’Malley
    (227 votes)
  • 45%
    Pedro Munhoz
    (190 votes)
417 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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