Rising bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley is quickly turning into one of the hottest stars in the UFC and has already started drawing comparisons to the likes of former two-division champion Conor McGregor and reigning middleweight titleholder, Israel Adesanya.

Sean O’Malley absolutely doesn’t mind these comparisons. Ahead of his fight against Marlon Vera, which is set to co-main event the blockbuster UFC 252 card, Sean O’Malley revealed that he seeks to follow in the footsteps of McGregor and Adesanya as he continues his rapid rise to the pinnacle of the bantamweight division.

“I think obviously Conor’s career went well,”Sean O’Malley said during Wednesday’s UFC 252 virtual media day (via MMA Junkie). “Israel Adesanya’s career went well and I feel like I want a similar career like that. (McGregor and I are) pretty similar in fighting styles. We knock people out in the first round. We’re not afraid to say how the fight will play out.”

Sean O’Malley is already hailed as a fan favorite on the UFC roster, with over a million Instagram followers despite being relatively new in the UFC compared to a few of his more-experienced colleagues. If Sean O’Malley manages to beat Vera at UFC 252 and prove that the hype train is for real, he will soon be calling his shots when it comes to choosing opponents.

“I think it totally depends how I go out there and finish ‘Chito,’” Sean O’Malley said. “If I win a decision I don’t get that big, big next fight name. I could, because if I win a decision it will be a very impressive decision. But if I starch him I think I will get whoever I want.”

However, Sean O’Malley is known for his prolific knockouts inside the octagon but his opponent Vera has never been finished in his entire pro career. Sean O’Malley believes he’ll be the one to hand Vera his first KO loss.

“He’s in the UFC, he’s tough, he’s beat people in the UFC, he’s finished people in the UFC and he’s never been finished,” O’Malley said. “All around it’s a tough fight. He’s my toughest opponent to date and with that said, I’ll probably still drop him in the first round.”

Published 13 Aug 2020, 23:04 IST