In many ways combat sports are defined by confidence, and how to maintain it. If a fighter steps into the cage thinking that they’re anything less than the baddest MF’er to ever walk the face of the earth, they’re likely walking straight into an ugly loss.
That can, however create some interesting problems. Notably when it comes to actually having to grapple with a hard loss without denting that all too necessary shield against self doubt. Some turn to the narrative of pre-fight injuries, or other camp troubles. Some say they just “weren’t feeling it” in the cage that night. For others, losing a fight is all down to bad luck.
After his first professional loss, a TKO at the hands of Chito Vera in the co-main event of UFC 252, streaking prospect Sean O’Malley reflected on the long term implications of their bout.
Safe to say O’Malley took the loss well pic.twitter.com/Yv6aEPx3A5— TheArtOfWar (@TheArtOfWar6) August 20, 2020
“But also, what makes me feel better—say, okay, let’s look at his career in five years, let’s look at mine. I’m gonna be fucking world champ, he’s gonna be a fucking journeyman,” O’Malley said, in a recent episode of his Timbo Sugar Show Podcast. “That’s just what his style is. He wins some, he lose some. He’s slow, but he’s gritty. So he’s gonna be able to finish some people after they beat him up for a while.
“Dude, I’m like—the way his pace was super slow like that? And I’m exploding into shots, I wasn’t gonna get tired. And I was just gonna beat his ass. I don’t know if I was gonna get a finish in that first round, he was tough. He was patient, which was fine, because it’s easier for me. He wasn’t doing anything, he was just standing there. It fucking sucks.”
“Dude, I knock out Eddie Wineland. I peace. That was easy,” O’Malley continued. “He gets lucky and beats me and jumps up like he fucking won the lottery. That just showed me what kind of a bitch he was.”
In O’Malley’s defense, he did suffer a yet-undiagnosed foot injury midway through the first round. Whether or not that injury was a result of Vera’s own offense is a point of some debate (although replays appeared to show the injury following shortly after a Vera low kick). Had O’Malley not suffered said injury, who knows how the fight would have gone.
For those worried that ‘Sugar’ might be taking his first pro loss too hard, however – or be overly concerned about losing in the future – it doesn’t sound like that’s going to be a problem.