Morning Report: Dana White says Sean O’Malley needs ‘a few more fights’ before a bout with Cody Garbrandt

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

At UFC 250, the bantamweight division was on display with two of the biggest names in the division turning in highlight reel knockouts. First, rising star Sean O’Malley flat-lined former WEC champion Eddie Wineland in the first round. Then, shortly afterward, former UFC champion Cody Garbrandt finally got back in the win column with a scintillating buzzer-beater knockout of Raphael Assuncao. Both men were rewarded for their efforts for Performance of the Night bonuses, and in the aftermath, a rivalry began to form about who had the better KO.

That budding rivalry also bred the potential for a fight between the two potent strikers. O’Malley almost immediately threw out a fight with Garbrandt as an idea, saying he’d definitely KO the former champion but that “No Love” would never take the fight. In turn, Garbrandt, who is currently ranked fifth in the division, was complimentary of O’Malley but less interested in facing someone who only just broke into the rankings. And apparently, Dana White agrees with Garbrandt.

Speaking about the bantamweight division on The Schmozone Podcast recently, the UFC President said that the organization is not interested in rushing him to the top of the division.

“The problem is, if you take a Sean O’ Malley, first of all he has been off for a couple of years, he’s a young kid, he’s just coming in,” White said. “Where does he go from here? You got to give this kid a few more fights before he gets to Cody Garbrandt. . . If he fought and he beat Cody Garbrandt, he’d break into the Top-5 and very few people in their careers will ever break into the Top-5.”

That may not mesh with O’Malley’s own plans though. O’Malley lost nearly two years of his career to a USADA dispute and may be looking to make up for lost time. He just recently earned his first UFC ranking, coming in at No. 15 following the Wineland KO, and before that fight, “Suga” laid out his career road map: beat Wineland, get ranked, have one or two more fights against ranked opponents, and then take the title. But for Dana White, it’s a matter of maximizing the budding stars potential. O’Malley has drawn comparisons to Conor McGregor with his personality and fighting style and Dana White says the UFC is looking to build him up, not rush him into things.

“He’s one of the kids we’re focused on and have been since the contender series. He had some issues that he had to deal with the last couple of years, which has been brutal, but it’s given him a chance to heal up, and here we are.”


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FINAL THOUGHTS

Shouts to Alex Lee for the assist yesterday.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


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