Number 12-ranked bantamweight Sean O’Malley once went on record to admit that he didn’t want to fight ranked opponents. With money as his primary reason, that kind of cherry-picking is something that many people criticized him for.
But if you ask Kevin Lee, “Sugar Sean” is doing something right.
“I gotta tip my hat to Sean O’Malley. He knows how to come up. He did it the right way. Honestly, I wish I would’ve (taken) a couple pages out of his book and had that ability to kind of pick and choose my fights and put on great performances like that. He’s doing it the right way,” Lee said in his recent appearance on the Schmozone podcast.
“The Motown Phenom” went through the wringer with elite-caliber opponents like Tony Ferguson, Rafael dos Anjos, and reigning 155-pound king Charles Oliveira. And seeing how O’Malley played out his career, Lee admits he’s “a little jealous” of the 27-year-old fighter.
“I’m not mad at him for it. I’m a little jealous. I ain’t gonna lie, I’m a little jealous. He didn’t have to fight jiu-jitsu black belts and then the next fight, fight a world-class striker, and then fight a world champion kickboxer and then fight a wrestler… He don’t have to do that.”
Lee recently signed with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC and is reportedly facing fellow UFC alum, Diego Sanchez, for his debut in March.