Sean O’Malley wants to fight three times a year like he did in 2020 and 2021, despite the limitations of the pandemic.
But in 2022, he seems willing to concede three bouts might not happen. He might have to settle for two. But if that’s the case, he’s got his sights firmly set on 2023 and what it could bring him.
O’Malley (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) fought a month ago and notched his third straight bantamweight knockout. He took out Raulian Paiva at UFC 269 and picked up his third straight $50,000 post-fight bonus. He has six bonuses in his eight UFC fights.
But he also broke his right thumb in the fight and has been in a cast, which has kept him from proper training.
“I look at it one way: If I don’t (fight) till June or July, it just gives me time to get better and improve,” O’Malley said on his regular YouTube channel show. “I haven’t been able to train since my fight. I’ve had a fractured thumb since my fight – I haven’t been able to train. I haven’t been able to improve until now. I get my cast off soon. That’ll give me a couple months to improve. I’m not too worried about it.
“Ideally, I get three fights in a year. That’s kind of where my head’s at. I don’t know if it’s (because I want) more money. I think it’s competition. I love competing. But I just want to get back in the game and improve. So if I only get two – if I get one in July and November, December … I might only get two this year. (I’ll) fight out the contract, then 2023, boom: Fat f*cking contract and go on a killing spree.”
O’Malley started his career a perfect 12-0. After a highlight-reel win in the second Dana White’s Contender Series event in 2017, he was in the UFC a few months later and had a first-round knockout in his official debut.
After a decision win over Terrion Ware, he rattled off three more wins – all of which got him $50,000 post-fight bonus awards.
But at UFC 252, O’Malley suffered a leg injury against Marlon Vera and eventually was put away for his first pro loss. Once he returned, it’s been all bonus-winning knockouts. And perhaps just as impressive, O’Malley seems to be a big enough draw for the UFC that after his promotional debut, each of his fights since then has been on a pay-per-view, including five straight on the main card.
So his mention of a “fat f*ucking contract” might be justified.