Las Vegas, NV — Sean O’Malley channeled a little bit of Nate Diaz when his UFC 264 fight with Louis Smolka fell through.
In short, he was not surprised.
“When I got the call, I was just like ‘meh.’ I truly wasn’t surprised that it happened,” O’Malley (13-1) told media outlets including Cageside Press during Wednesday’s media day.
One thing that surprised many was to see O’Malley end up fighting a newcomer. He’d told the UFC that he wanted to stay on the card, at 135lbs, and the promotion sent him a list of options. “[Ricky] Simon was the toughest one on there, and I picked him. [The UFC] called me and said ‘he can’t make weight.’ I don’t know if it was just a miscommunication, that he put his name in there for 45, but I was pretty clear with the UFC, I said ‘I want to fight at 135.'”
A lot of people calling O’Malley out on Twitter weren’t even on the list he was given, he added. In the end, O’Malley instead wound up matched against short-notice newcomer Kris Moutinho, a CES MMA veteran. “I’m just happy I’m on the card at 35,” said O’Malley.
Of course, this is now being portrayed as a lose-lose situation for the “Sugar Show.”
“Absolutely, that’s the word around town. A lot of people think it’s a lose-lose for me,” O’Malley admitted. “I make a lot of money, go out there and knock this kid out— this kid’s tough. I watched one of his fights this morning for the first time. He’s not just a scrub, he’s not a nobody, he’s not a— I mean he is kind of a nobody, no one really knows who he is, but to be fair, not a lot of people know who Simon is, really. He’s beat a couple dudes in the UFC. I couldn’t tell you how many fights he’s even had in the UFC.”
So, O’Malley continued, Moutinho “comes in there, shocks the world, it’s a huge fight for him. Props to him for taking it. He might be thinking it’s a win-win for him. He goes out there and loses, he’s in the UFC.”
O’Malley sees a downside for his opponent, however. “I don’t just knock people out. I change people’s careers. Mentally, the way I knock people out, they step into that cage, they’re different the next fight out there. This could be the beginning of his career or this could be the end of his career. We’ll see.”
Watch the full UFC 264 media day scrum with Sean O’Malley above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.