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‘He’s definitely inspired me a ton’ - Sean O’Malley talks Conor McGregor’s influence

‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley denies that he’s copying McGregor’s style, but says that he’s definitely taken ‘bits and pieces’ from the UFC superstar.

Sean O’Malley poses ahead of his bout against Marlon Vera at UFC 252.
Sean O’Malley poses ahead of his bout against Marlon Vera at UFC 252.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Sean O’Malley may not yet have won a UFC title, but he’s already built a reputation as a UFC highlight reel staple—known as much for his over the top presentation outside the cage as he is for his performances inside it.

While he principally fights out of the orthodox stance, his pressuring style and mix of high power attacks – coupled with his brash personality – have earned him a lot of comparisons to UFC superstar Conor McGregor (the Irish last name probably doesn’t hurt either). In a recent interview with MMA Fighting O’Malley talked about the comparisons. And while it doesn’t sound like he’s exactly balking at the idea, he made it clear that he’s not trying to copy the former double-champ either.

“A lot of people say that I try to be like Conor,” O’Malley explained. “You can have two people that have similar personalities. [People say], ‘Oh you try to dress like Conor, you try to fight like Conor, you try to act like Conor, talk like Conor’ — that’s not true at all. I definitely have taken bits and pieces and learned from him, which is the smart thing to do. Learn from someone who is that successful and doing that well. But yeah he’s definitely inspired me a ton. The way he carries himself. The way he handles pressure. The way he goes into these big fights. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

For those leveling the comparison at him as a form of criticism, O’Malley chalked that up to jealousy over the quality of performances he’s put together inside the cage.

“I think a lot of the fighters don’t get the attention I get. I’m putting on beautiful performances. It comes down to the knockouts really... It comes down to the performances. People are attracted to that. I think it comes down to the performances and then the outfits even. It’s just little things that get attention.”

O’Malley is currently set to fight Kris Moutinho on the main card of UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor III. Moutinho is stepping in as a late replacement for Louis Smolka, who was forced out of the bout in late June due to staph infection. The event takes place this Saturday, July 10th, in Las Vegas, NV.