Cory Sandhagen is a fan of Sean O’Malley’s style, but not his recent track record of opponents when it comes to his time in the UFC to this point.
Sandhagen spoke with LowKickMMA ahead of his highly-anticipated main event bout with former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw at UFC on ESPN 27 later this month. O’Malley is slated to face Kris Moutinho on the UFC 264 main card, who will make his promotional debut after Louis Smolka had to withdraw from the bout due to an undisclosed injury in fight camp.
Many around the MMA community have been frustrated with the lack of competition that O’Malley will face on paper at the upcoming pay-per-view, and Sandhagen is one of them.
“I’d like to see him fight some tougher guys,” Sandhagen told LowKickMMA’s James Lynch. “I don’t know how much of that is on him, or on the UFC. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because when I hear him speak, you can tell he wants to be a champ.
“But he’s fighting guys that won’t make him a champion. I don’t think too many guys in the division stepped up so he was stuck with a debuting guy.”
Moutinho will make his UFC debut on short notice after brief stints with Cage Fury and CES MMA. This will by far be the biggest stage that he’s been on to this point in his career on the biggest card of the summer, featuring the trilogy between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
O’Malley has won four of his last five fights, with his lone loss coming against Marlon Vera at UFC 252. He is coming off a dominant knockout win over Thomas Almeida at UFC 260 after a seven-month hiatus.
O’Malley vs. Moutinho will still garner the attention of viewers, but not nearly the excitement as opposed to if O’Malley faced someone like Tim Elliott or Ricky Simon. Regardless, all eyes will be on O’Malley as he attempts to continue his rise through the UFC.
What do you think about Cory Sandhagen’s comments about Sean O’Malley?