There is no questioning the fact that Sean O’Malley has star appeal. The young bantamweight contender has amassed a big following on social media and his fighting style/personality makes him a very polarizing figure.
O’Malley suffered his first career loss back at UFC 252 against Chito Vera (16-7-1). In that fight, O’Malley started very well, but ultimately, the calf kicks of Chito Vera cut down the young contender and Vera got the TKO win.
This was a huge fight for O’Malley because a loss would be detrimental to his appeal. Thomas Almeida at one point was looked at as a future UFC champion. He was once 21-1, however, a skid had him 1-3 in his last four leading to UFC 260.
Unfortunately for Almeida, the skid didn’t stop. Outside of landing some decent kicks, Almeida was completely dominated by O’Malley. O’Malley ended up scoring a massive third round KO to show the world that UFC 252 wasn’t the end of the Suga Show after all.
What’s next after UFC 260?
Prior to his loss to Vera, O’Malley had just entered the UFC’s top fifteen at bantamweight. With Vera in that fifteenth spot, I don’t expect to see O’Malley in the rankings when they get updated tomorrow.
However, I believe he needs to fight a ranked opponent in his next fight. There are a couple of options out there for the Suga Show. One fight I like is the winner of the upcoming Cody Stamann – Merab Dvalishvili fight.Â
Whoever would win between that winner and O’Malley would shoot into the top ten of the division. However, there’s another intriguing matchup that Chael Sonnen mentioned on Saturday night.
That matchup would be against former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz (23-3). Cruz just got back on the winning track after a lengthy layoff at UFC 259. A matchup between the two would make a lot of sense for both.
For O’Malley, it would give him the chance to defeat a former UFC champion and arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. For Dominick Cruz, he could make a statement to O’Malley’s following that he’s still here and he’s not going anywhere. Several compelling options for The Suga Show.