UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones appears to be a big fan of the UFC’s new bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley, likening him to Conor McGregor.
“Sean O’Malley – I’m excited about him – he has the look,” Jones told the OverDogs Podcast. “He reminds me a lot of McGregor. He’s really raw and authentic, he has that kind of rags-to-riches story that everyone appreciates, especially in this country. I like him. I like him a lot and I really want to see how far he can take it.”
Like many others, Jones had thought that Aljamain Sterling would beat O’Malley, but after his upset win he now thinks the sky is the limit for the 28-year-old.
“He’s young enough still to where he can take those leaps and bounds in his game,” Jones said on the Overdogs podcast. “He’s going to be around for a long time. To beat up Aljamain like that – I always put my money on the wrestler. O’Malley, he’s looking like the total package. I’m going to be tuning into his pay-per-views for the next couple of years.”
Not everyone is as impressed with O’Malley’s star power though, with one of his main bantamweight rivals Henry Cejudo claiming that he’s not the draw on pay-per-view that some people might expect.
“Guess what, guys, I have friends at ESPN. I’m not gonna say who but Sean O’Malley [vs. Sterling] did anywhere between 300,000 to 350,000 [PPV buys],” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “That’s it. That’s all Sean O’Malley made in pay-per-view buys. Is 350,000 pay-per-view buys — is that a surplus or is that down? The other guy who will probably more likely know is Aljamain Sterling.
“Everyone was projecting that this event was one of the biggest of the year. It’s not true. So, my question is to Sean O’Malley: Do you have that sauce to sell, to be a pay-per-view superstar? Yeah, you just won the belt but you would imagine you’re fighting in Boston against a current champ who has gone down and got wins over legends, how big is the name of Sean O’Malley? Yeah, does he have a following through Instagram? 100 percent. But can he sell pay-per-views?”
ESPN doesn’t disclose it’s pay-per-view numbers, so it’s not known whether Cejudo’s claim is accurate. Either way, Cejudo is trying to position himself as the man to fight O’Malley next.
“I would insert my name in the hat to fight Sean, especially with the fact that we’re both from the same city, our gyms are rivals … You’d figure that would be a storyline because they don’t want to give Merab [a title shot],” Cejudo said. “The UFC don’t want somebody that’s just going to wrestle. If somebody’s just going to wrestle then go back to Georgia, man. Even me as a wrestler, I find it boring. Could I go in there and just start wrestling everybody to death? Yeah. I wouldn’t be marketable nor would I have fun and I would probably just go back to wrestling.”