Sean O'Malley
Sean O'Malley reacts as he enters the octagon for his bantamweight bout against Pedro Munhoz of Brazil during UFC 276 at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images


  • Sean O'Malley desires to get the finish against Petr Yan
  • Yan will be O'Malley's biggest challenge to date
  • Dana White has confirmed that the winner gets a shot at the bantamweight title

UFC 280 is set to take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this Sunday, October 23 (Saturday, October 22 in the United States), and while eyes are glued to the main event fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev over the lightweight title, Sean O'Malley has a mission against Petr Yan.

The 27-year-old from Helena, Montana has steadily made his climb in the bantamweight rankings and though he wants a title shot soon, he knows not to look past his current opponent.

"Petr is the only guy in the top ten without a fight... I don't think he really had an option... So, him saying, he picked [this] fight, I don't believe that. I think he got bullied into it," O'Malley casually mentioned during media day.

"When I think about having fun, I think about knocking someone out. I love grappling, it's my favorite training, but when I think of fighting and putting on performances and entertaining, I think of knocking people out. We'll see where the fight goes, but I'd love to knock him out."

Since being signed by the UFC in July 2017, "The Suga Show" has etched his name in the minds of mixed martial arts fans thanks to the energy he puts into his fights and eye-popping hair color.

O'Malley remained undefeated over the course of four UFC fights before seeing his momentum be stopped by Marlon Vera back in March 2021 after landing a kick behind the knee that eventually led to the TKO stoppage.

Since the loss, O'Malley came back even stronger and racked up knockout victories over Thomas Almeida, Kris Moutinho and Raulian Pavia before having a no-contest with Pedro Munhoz due to an accidental eye poke that had the Brazilian being declared unable to continue.

While many MMA fans would say that the No.11-ranked bantamweight in O'Malley is being fast-tracked to the title picture, picking up the victory against Yan would be a much tougher challenge than others would think.

Blessed with a refined striking game and an infinite gas tank, the Russian-born bantamweight is a fierce fighter who holds dominant victories against former featherweight king Jose Aldo and then-perennial title challenger Uriah Faber.

Yan's efforts inside the cage would see him win the interim title against Cory Sandhagen in a Fight of the Night winner at UFC 267 before ultimately failing to recapture the title from Aljamain Sterling in their rematch at UFC 273.

UFC president Dana White previously confirmed that the winner between O'Malley and Yan will receive first dibs at the bantamweight title, and the charismatic American fighter needed no further motivation.

"I want to fulfill my potential and I do believe that I can be considered one of the best fighters of all time if I can just stay grinding and grounded and keep working. I'm not gonna be in these positions to be able to be as healthy as I am and as young as I am and I don't want to regret anything," he said.

With so much on the line for the highlight-reel finisher, O'Malley and Yan are on pace for Fight of the Night honors at UFC 280.

Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling
(L-R) Petr Yan of Russia punches Aljamain Sterling in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images