Simon called for a fight with O’Malley once again following his impressive second-round submission win over the previously undefeated Jack Shore at UFC Long Island. That callout ended up being in vain, as O’Malley ultimately landed a date with former UFC champion Petr Yan at UFC 280. But prior to the booking, Simon was honest about his view on O’Malley’s place in the bantamweight division.
“It’s the biggest fight, with the most amount of eyes, and the least dangerous and easiest fight in my division, in my opinion,” Simon said. “I think O’Malley’s the easiest fight of all the guys I could be fighting in the top-10. I know he has a big following and it would be entertaining for the fans, as well. He’s good at what he does, and I’m mean in there.”
Simon was then asked if O’Malley would be an easier fight than Shore, who entered the octagon at UFC Long Island with a perfect 16-0 record, and he doubled down.
“Oh, yeah [it’s an easier fight],’ Simon said. “Jack Shore was able to defend some of those takedowns. You see how skinny O’Malley’s hips are? Those freaking little skinny legs? I would wrap my arms around his legs and I’m going to carry him around just like I did Jack — who is a way better grappler — and I would slam him on his head so bad.”
O’Malley had his first big top-10 test at UFC 276 when he faced Pedro Munhoz. The fight ended abruptly following an accidental eye poke from O’Malley and the bout was ruled a no contest.
In Simon’s eyes, the fight — along with the result — was extremely disappointing.
“It was kind of the way I imagined the fight going because Sean’s such a counterstriker and he had such a big reach advantage,” Simon explained. “I thought Pedro might be able to kick his legs, and I thought he might be able to do more, but all he really did was leg strikes. Boring. It was kind of a let down. I was probably most excited for that fight because it was in my division, and the first real big test for O’Malley. It was kind of a boring, lackluster finish.
“I thought he lost the first round, and I think all the judges had it that way, as well.”