TJ Dillashaw doesn’t think Sean O’Malley is championship material.

The former two-time UFC bantamweight champion returned from a USADA-enforced layoff of more than two years last month. Dillashaw infamously tested positive for EPO following his failed flyweight title bid against Henry Cejudo in 2019.

Dillashaw now seems set for another shot at UFC gold after beating Cory Sandhagen over five rounds at UFC Vegas 32. The 35-year-old survived a deep cut and mangled leg to score a split decision win in one of the most competitive fights of 2021.

O’Malley has been making lots of noise at 135lbs for some time now. ‘Suga’ appears to be the next big thing in MMA but has been criticized for refusing to step up his level of opposition. The one time O’Malley did step up to fight a ranked opponent, he was knocked out inside one round by Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera.

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During a recent interview with Submission Radio, Dillashaw noted that O’Malley is a draw but simply has too many holes to ever be a UFC champion.

“I don’t think he’ll become champion,” Dillashaw said. “He’s got too many holes. And they’re just feeding him the right fights cause he’s a huge draw, right?

“For one, they pumped him up, they put him in the UFC pump-up machine. They can do that to pretty much anyone if you have a little bit of character, if you can talk whatsoever, be a little bit colourful, they’ll pump you up. And he’s done a good job promoting himself. He’s done a really good job of that. And it takes work, man. When you see these guys that get pumped up, they’re also putting in the hard work. So, he does a good job of that.

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“But we see what happened as soon as he fought Chito. Chito is more of a top-ranked fighter, and he got finished in the first round,” Dillashaw added. “I mean, I don’t think that he will be champion, but he’s a good draw. Hopefully he can make it far enough to where I could use some of that thunder and get paid off it (laughs).”

Do you agree with TJ Dillashaw? Or do you think Sean O’Malley will be champion?

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A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.