Dana White Reveals He Had To Be Convinced To Book Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley

Las Vegas, NV — UFC president  Dana White didn’t initially like the idea of Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley.

When former bantamweight champion Yan and rising star O’Malley were booked last week for UFC 280, everyone was a little confused about the match-up — but excited about the possibility.

UFC president White admittedly did not like the match-up for O’Malley when he got pitched it during a matchmaking meeting. But ultimately, matchmaker Sean Shelby persuaded him.

“We were in matchmaking, and Sean Shelby actually came up with that fight,” White told Cageside Press during the post-fight DWCS scrum on Tuesday night at the UFC Apex. “Sean Shelby wanted that fight. I said, ‘Are you out of your mind? You don’t make that fight now, this and that.’ He told me why you make it and that O’Malley’s ready.”

Just like that, White was on board.

“You know, O’Malley’s about to be 28 years old in October, in his absolute prime right now. [He] hits like a truck. He ended up selling me on it. And more importantly, both guys wanted it. And even more importantly than that, when we announced it, everyone went crazy and loves it. And even more important than that, it should be a f*cking really good fight.”

O’Malley is coming off a no-contest against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 earlier this month, while Yan is coming off a title loss against Aljamain Sterling.

UFC 280 is a ridiculously stacked card already, and more fights are still to be made.

Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will headline the event in Abu Dhani, and White is very excited for the fight.

“Khabib [Nurmagomedov] has said for a very long time that Islam Makhachev is the best in the world, and he’s going to be the next world champion. He’s going to dominate that division the way that he [Khabib himself] did,” White said. “You got to get through Charles Oliveira first, you know what I mean? Charles Oliveira is no walk over. This kid is a stud. Technically, he’s not the champion, but to all of us, he is the champion. I’m very excited about that fight. Very excited for that fight.”

UFC 280 goes down on October 22, 2022 on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.