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‘Unranked champ’ Sean O’Malley reveals why ‘legend’ Cruz is on UFC 269 prelims, while he’s on PPV

Sean O’Malley knows why he’s fighting on the UFC 269 main card while former champion Dominick Cruz is in the prelims.

For the fifth straight time, rising UFC bantamweight star Sean O’Malley is part of a pay-per-view event’s main card. This time, “Sugar” Sean will open up the PPV broadcast at UFC 269 this weekend when he takes on Raulian Paiva.

Two fights before him at the prelims will feature former longtime 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz, who takes on his second fight for 2021 against Pedro Munhoz. O’Malley was asked about it during Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, and this was his response.

“I get a little giggle out of it, just because I remember Dominick Cruz trying to teach young fighters how to promote… something like that,” O’Malley told Ariel Helwani as he got his hair done for fight day. “How to do something, and he’s just… It’s Dominick Cruz, the dude’s a legend, and I don’t want to sit here and disrespect him, but he’s on the prelims. The UFC stacks the card in a specific way for a reason.

“If they thought that Dominick Cruz and Pedro Munhoz can sell more pay-per-views than me, they would put them on the main card. I think it’s just… UFC’s a business, and I understand what they’re doing. They’re there because they’re there.”

O’Malley isn’t ranked among the top 15, but that doesn’t bother him at all. He’s content with being an “unranked champ.”

“Unranked champ just seems to make sense going into this fight, considering I’m on the main card. I got Paiva moved up all the way to the main card as well. And we got two guys in the top ten fighting in the prelims. It makes sense.”

UFC 269 happens this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.