Brian Kelleher expects roles to reverse if he defeats Cody Stamann at UFC 250 on June 6.
Kelleher is fresh off a Sean O’Malley callout after knocking out Hunter Azure at UFC on ESPN+ 29 on May 13. The 33-year-old heard “crickets” from the promotion about his proposal to fight “Sugar,” but instead is up against the No. 12 ranked UFC bantamweight on 10 days notice.
With a win on June 6, Kelleher is confident he will be in the driver seat of a potential matchup with O’Malley.
“At this point. I beat Stamann and it’s kind of like up to Sean O’Malley to call me out,” Kelleher said.
“I take out Cody Stamann, I’m No. 12. Hey, now you [O’Malley] can come and chase me.”
With Brian Kelleher being unsuccessful in his previous attempts to fight O’Malley, UFC 250 offers another stage to set up a potential bout.
Kelleher and O’Malley are competing on the same card for the first time. While Kellher faces Stamann in one of the first fights of the night, O’Malley takes on Eddie Wineland later on.
O’Malley is currently unbeaten at 3-0 inside the octagon, still without a top-15 win of his own.
“I think the UFC is trying to maybe work that out in a way where the timing is on their side,” Kelleher said. “You have to start and test yourself and fight anybody they put in front of you like myself. Here I am fighting Cody Stamann on 10 days notice, this is real fighter shit.”
“Fell into my lap”
Stamann is the task at hand. Although Kelleher lobbied to fight O’Malley, getting a fight with Stamann came easy.
Kelleher took to twitter to propose a fight with any bantamweights on the UFC roster. Stamann commented a little too late as the New York native was already scheduled to fight Azure on May 13.
“I’m like, ‘You’re next, don’t worry, I got you,’” Kelleher said. “So that kind of went away and then after my fight with Hunter, I was like, ‘Enough of this Sean O’Malley stuff, he’s fighting Eddie Wineland, let’s move forward and try to call someone out with a ranking and see what happens.’
“So I said ‘Hey Cody, where are you at?’ He responded and the fight kind of came together and it fell into my lap.”
Any bantamweights that want to fight at 145 May 9 I’m down. Fuck the weight cut during these times of not being able to get full training preparation. one thing I know how to fight @Mickmaynard2 @danawhite @BrianButler_Au
— Brian Kelleher (@brianboom135) April 15, 2020
You did say I was next. Lol The only thing I’m worried about is hurting my hand on your head. Could you grow some hair out for me? I’ll sign that contract right now.
— Cody Stamann (@CodyStamann) May 23, 2020
Stamann is 4-1-1 since making his UFC debut in July 2017. He is coming off a draw to Yadong Song at UFC on ESPN 7 in December 2019.
Kelleher is riding a two-fight win streak, starting with a first-round submission win against Ode Osbourne at UFC 246 on Jan. 18. His win over Azure is his first clean knockout inside the octagon.
All eyes on Kelleher
The UFC remains the only major professional sports organization currently holding events in the United States. This means more eyes are on the promotion. For Kelleher, it puts more of a spotlight on him.
At 2-0 in 2020 and entering his second fight in a month’s span, Kelleher’s stock is rising.
While some international fighters are unable to compete during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelleher is cashing in. Literally and figuratively.
“A lot of hype is going on behind me, now I’m fighting a ranked guy to put myself in even a better position,” Kelleher said. “During the pandemic while there are not many things to watch, not many sports going on, all eyes are on the UFC right now. I think that has been a huge help for recognition and exposure.”