Sean O’Malley recently appeared on Michael Bisping’s podcast, Believe You Me, and revealed that he was focusing exclusively on his grappling in anticipation of a title shot in the UFC bantamweight division. O’Malley is fresh off an impressive win over former title-holder Petr Yan, but the two men who will be fighting for the belt next represent a drastically different challenge. Aljamain Sterling will be defending the bantamweight title against the returning double-champion Henry Cejudo, and both men are fantastic wrestlers with extensive BJJ knowledge as well.
Although Sean O’Malley is a BJJ brown belt in his own right, he is also acutely aware that he will need the highest level of grappling skill he can possibly possess in order to beat either Sterling or Cejudo:
“I’m just training, I’m getting better. I know I need to improve in aspects of my grappling whether I fight ‘Aljo’ or Henry. They’re both very heavy grapplers, so I’m fine with sitting out. I’m literally just grappling. That’s all I’m really doing nowadays. I’m fine waiting a couple months, just keep getting better.”
Sean O’Malley has competed in grappling tournaments before, but he has always been known as more of a flashy striker in his MMA career. He sits in a good position in the UFC rankings and it would definitely be wise for him to take the time that he’s earned in order to give himself the best chance of becoming a champion. He also elaborated on the position he finds himself occupying in the bantamweight division, and how he is planning for the future:
“I’m in a tricky position. I always knew I’d be in this position where you’re at the top of the division. It doesn’t really make sense to fight. I’m guaranteed a title shot. Obviously, ‘Aljo’ and Henry still have to be announced. I’m kind of in that position where do I be smart — like I’ve done my entire career — and just wait for those two dorks to fight or do I risk it and go fight someone else? Which wouldn’t be the intelligent thing to do, but it’s like you only get so many years to fight. I don’t really feel like sitting around too much. I’m leaning towards waiting around for ‘Aljo’ and Henry to fight and just wait for that.”
O’Malley was also asked to give his opinion on who wins out of the fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo, and he was more than happy to oblige:
“I think ‘Aljo’ probably submits Henry. Who knows how hard Henry’s been training. These last few years he had a baby, he clearly wasn’t in good shape. Every time you saw him at the fights he looked fat and drunk so I don’t know, I think ‘Aljo’ probably chokes him.”
The interview where Sean O’Malley revealed that he was focusing almost exclusively on grappling was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Michael Bisping’s Podcast, Believe You me: