Sean O’Malley returns to UFC motion tonight after enduring a tricky 2020 which noticed his unbeaten report snatched away in merciless trend.
After knocking out Jose Quinonez at UFC 248 and Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 in June, the ‘Sugar’ present rolled into Las Vegas at UFC 252 and pitted the bantamweight contender towards Marlon Vera.
The hype round O’Malley had turned from light murmurings to an virtually deafening crescendo because it appeared as if the organisation had discovered a famous person behind which even probably the most informal MMA fan might get behind.
Blessed with unbelievable knockout energy and the arrogance to attempt something within the Octagon, O’Malley had the form of star energy which Dana White craves from contenders.
After two years out because of suspension, it appeared as if all roads had been main in the direction of a cost in the direction of the 135lbs title.
But ‘Chito’ Vera had not learn the script and derailed the O’Malley hype practice with a sequence of scything leg kicks and a few brutal floor and pound in August to depart followers questioning, ‘What Subsequent?’
To completely perceive the cult following which the 26-year-old has amassed through the years, one should begin on the very starting of his journey.
Knowledgeable since 2013, MMA appeared to return to simply to the Montana-native and one in all his early coaches determined to call his ‘Sugar’ as a result of he was ‘candy to observe’.
Standing at 5ft 11ins, O’Malley depends on technical capability reasonably than brute power to win fights and his devastating kickboxing type earned him a spot on Dana White’s Contender Collection.
With a report of 7-Zero and 5 knockouts to his identify, all eyes had been on the burgeoning famous person and he duly delivered in emphatic trend.
O’Malley danced across the helplessly overmatched Alfred Khashakyan for 4 minutes of the primary spherical and lit his opponent up with a sequence of highly effective kicks and punches.
With round 45 seconds to go of the spherical, O’Malley dropped a hammer of a proper hand to knock his opponent out and proceeded to demand a contract from Dana White, who might do little greater than cheer and utter profanities after watching such hanging excellence.
But the undoubted spotlight of the night was the commentary supplied by Snoop Dogg alongside Urijah Faber, together with his cries of ‘O’Malley’ punctuated by the gin and juice by his aspect.
The American rapper was ecstatic with what he noticed and invited the teen again into his trailer and what occurred subsequent will go down in MMA folklore.
He informed MMA Combating: “Proper once I walked into his trailer, he handed me a joint and I used to be pumped.
“It felt like a film as a result of I walked into his trailer and he’s obtained his physique guards, he’s obtained a few different individuals in there, and there was like three joints going round.
“I used to be puffin’ and passin’, attempting to maintain up, and so they had a TV in there enjoying highlights of my struggle, so had been watching that and smoking, it was a lot enjoyable.
“It was solely like 20 or 30 minutes, nevertheless it was a very good time and a reminiscence ceaselessly.”
He was the one fighter on all the card to win a contract from Dana White and was thrust right into a struggle towards Terrion Ware in his debut for the promotion, claiming a unanimous choice victory within the course of.
He was then thrust onto a PPV in his subsequent struggle, taking over Andre Soukhamthath at UFC 222. The struggle was backwards and forwards and, though he injured his foot within the third spherical, O’Malley claimed the victory and informed Joe Rogan ‘I f***** love you’ while receiving therapy on the canvas.
While taking time away from the sport to get well from hip surgical procedure, the Nevada State Athletic Fee suspended the famous person for six months because of a failed take a look at for ostarine.
He returned at UFC 248 with a primary spherical knockout of Quinonez on the T-Cellular Area in Las Vegas and followers had been determined to see him in motion once more as soon as the world returned to some semblance of normality after the outbreak of COVID-19.
Dana White duly obliged and positioned him on the cardboard at UFC 250 towards Wineland the place, full with rainbow-coloured corn rows, O’Malley delivered a spectacular stroll off KO.
Described by Rogan as ‘the most effective walk-away KO I’ve ever seen’, the parallels with among the easiest strikers within the UFC got here to thoughts.
Nonetheless, there’s a sure Irish famous person who O’Malley himself has no points admitting he idolises and hopes to mimic each time he steps within the Octagon.
He mentioned on his love of Conor McGregor: “Yeah, the final couple of fights earlier than we go to the sector, we simply throw on Fightpass, watch Conor, watch him stroll out, simply watch his physique language.
“He’s the person. I really like Conor. I’ve all the time beloved Conor.
“I bear in mind watching his first struggle (within the UFC) considering, ‘That dude’s going to be good.’”
Like ‘The Infamous’, O’Malley should present he has the resilience and technical capability to bounce again from a primary ever defeat within the UFC.
Like McGregor’s shock defeat to Nate Diaz in 2016, O’Malley’s loss to Vera could have dented the idea of some supporters within the fighter, however do little to damped the spirits of the person himself.
With the harmful Thomas Almeida standing throughout from him the Octagon, O’Malley has a easy message for anybody who doubts he has what it takes to compete on the very highest stage.
He informed Helen Yee: “I’d inform you guys to be on me, however I mentioned that final time and I nonetheless get messages from individuals saying I owe them a thousand bucks.
“So don’t guess on me. Wager on Thomas (Almeida). Wager on Thomas to win. There you go.
“I’m wholesome. I really feel good,” he added. “I’m so excited for this struggle.
“I feel it’s going to be a badass kickboxing struggle. I don’t suppose he’ll try to come out and wrestle me — he’ll gasoline himself out.
“He’s not going to have the ability to take me down. I feel it’s going to be a very good kickboxing struggle and I simply don’t see how I don’t put his lights out. I’m too quick. I’m sharp. I’m too targeted.
“There’s simply no manner he beats me, however I can’t say that since you simply by no means know what’s going to occur, however I do really feel good for this struggle. I really feel prefer it’s a very good match-up for me.”