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White: Sean O’Malley ‘on the cusp’ of superstardom heading into UFC 280, win over Petr Yan critical

“For O’Malley, he wins this fight on Saturday, his entire life changes on Sunday.”

UFC 280: Open Workouts
Sean O’Malley will take on Petr Yan at UFC 280.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Dana White believes Sean O’Malley is on the cusp of global superstardom heading into UFC 280 and that a win over former bantamweight champion Petr Yan could change the course of his life.

White compared O’Malley’s matchup with Yan to Conor McGregor’s legendary featherweight fight versus Jose Aldo at UFC 194 which saw ‘The Notorious’ catapult into superstardom with a 13-second knockout that flipped the MMA world on its head.

White believes O’Malley has all the makings of a future superstar but not without first rising to the occasion and proving his talent against Yan in Abu Dhabi, with a win likely launching O’Malley into title contention against the winner of Aljamain Sterling vs. T.J. Dillashaw.

“O’Malley is on the cusp of being a massive global superstar,” White told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter ahead of O’Malley’s bantamweight fight against Yan (h/t The Mac Life). “There was talk earlier about Conor, he said, ‘I’d like to be as big as Conor’ and stuff like that. Well, if you want to compare it to Conor — this is like the Conor vs. Jose Aldo fight.”

“When you have that type of star power and you have that thing people are attracted too, then it’s about winning key fights like this,” White added. “For O’Malley, he wins this fight on Saturday, his entire life changes on Sunday.”

UFC 280, which features Yan vs. O’Malley on the main card, is scheduled to take place Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.