After a two-year hiatus, rising bantamweight prospect “Sugar” Sean O’Malley returned to the Octagon in emphatic fashion this past March, scoring a quick first-round TKO of Jose Quinones at UFC 248. And now, the 25-year-old is looking to pick up right where he left off, as he’s scheduled to take on veteran Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 this Saturday in Las Vegas.
With a perfect 11-0 professional record that features seven finishes, a highly entertaining fighting style, and a unique personality, O’Malley has certainly become a name to watch in the booming 135-pound division. And should he continue to find success, “Sugar” feels as if he could be fighting for a title sooner rather than later.
“I think it [bantamweight] could be the best division in the UFC right now,” O’Malley said on a recent edition of MMAFighting.com‘s What The Heck. “The whole top-10 is so stacked, but I think with my style, the performance that I’m gonna have (on Saturday) and continue to have with my name being big, and my following being big, I think in a couple of fights, I could be fighting for that title.”
O’Malley will obviously have to get through Wineland first and the bout definitely represents a jump up in competition for the young fighter, as the 35-year-old Wineland is an experienced veteran and a former WEC champion.
Although he’s lost two of his last three bouts, Wineland has been around the block and has fought some of the sport’s biggest names over the years and it’s safe to say that O’Malley is intrigued by the challenge.
“I think this is a perfect next match for me,” O’Malley explained of the UFC 250 bout against Wineland. “He’s a vet, and it’s a good matchup for me. Anyone that’s gonna try and strike with me is a good matchup for me.”
And not only is he excited by the matchup, but “Sugar” is also highly confident that he’ll end the fight and that he’ll do it rather quickly, adding yet another highlight-reel finish to his growing resume.
“First-round knockout,” he predicted. “His style versus my style, and we both show up? It’s a quick night for us. I think I’m gonna put him away fast.”
Saturday night will be a big night for the bantamweight division, as UFC 250’s main card will feature a few pivotal bouts including a matchup between Aljamain Sterling and Cory Sandhagen and a fight between Raphael Assuncao and Cody Garbandt in addition to O’Malley’s bout with Wineland.
On a night when his division will be on full display, however, “Sugar” is nothing short of confident that he’ll get the job done against his stiffest test to date.