During the lead-up of UFC 269, Dana White was asked why Sean O’Malley isn’t fighting someone higher-ranked. According to the UFC president, “Sugar” Sean isn’t the type of fighter you’d want to move up the ladder that quick.
“He’s not ready. You guys wanna throw him to the wolves,” White told Barstool Sports’ Robbie Fox. You don’t move somebody that fast unless they’re Khamzat Chimaev. Khamzat is a guy you’ll feel comfortable moving that fast.
“He’s a tough kid, he’s fun, he’s exciting to watch. But he’s making his way the way you’re supposed to. You don’t just turn O’Malley around and throw him in there against killers. That’s not how it works.”
The 27-year-old O’Malley ended 2021 with another impressive stoppage, this time by scoring a first-round TKO win over Raulian Paiva at UFC 269. And after that performance, White says he may have to do some rethinking.
“The guy he beat tonight is a real guy. A very real guy,” White told reporters during the post-fight press conference. “He did it in spectacular fashion.
“And I know when you talk to him, two things: he wants to get paid, and he wants to fight higher-level competition. Looks like we’re gonna have to pay him. Get him some fights.”
O’Malley (15-1) also took home $50K for Performance of the Night.