Who Can Beat Sean O’Malley in Striking in UFC Bantamweight Division?

Published 07/12/2021, 12:32 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 27: Sean O’Malley reacts after his knockout victory over Thomas Almeida of Brazil in their bantamweight fight during the UFC 260 event at UFC APEX on March 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Sean O’Malley is one of the most promising fighters in the UFC. The fighter has an incredible MMA record of 14-1 winning 10 of his fights via KO/TKO. Apart from being a great fighter, ‘Sugar’ is an entertaining character and therefore has a great fan following.

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Many believe that O’Malley has the potential to be the next Conor McGregor of UFC. ‘Sugar’ himself has often claimed that he looks up to McGregor and is excited by the comparison. O’Malley has performed admirably well in the UFC and the biggest reason for it is his striking prowess.

Sean O’Malley is one of the best strikers in the UFC and has incredible accuracy as well. The biggest proof of that came in his last fight against Kris Moutinho. O’Malley connected 230 out of his 318 significant strikes against Moutinho and had an amazing 72 Significant Strike percentage. ‘Sugar’ just fell shy of Nate Diaz’s record of most significant strikes landed in a three-round fight. Diaz had landed 238 strikes in his fight against Donald Cerrone.

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O’Malley’s display of his outstanding striking abilities raised an interesting question. Is there anyone in the bantamweight division that can match O’Malley’s striking prowess?

Petr Yan, Cory Sandhagen, or T.J. Dillashaw who can beat Sean O’Malley’s striking abilities?

After O’Malley’s outstanding display against Kris Moutinho at UFC 264, many believe that the young fighter will challenge some top-ranked UFC bantamweight fighters soon. Therefore, we decided to take a look at the fighters that can match or even beat Sean O’Malley in striking.

The first name that comes to mind is T.J. Dillashaw. Dillashaw, who has an MMA record of 16-4 is well known for his striking capabilities. The first real proof of that came at UFC Fight Night 35 when Dillashaw faced Mike Easton. During that fight, Dillashaw landed 117 off 222 significant strikes and a total of 138 of 257. Following that win Dillashaw landed more than 100 significant strikes in 4 consecutive fights, proving how good of a striker he is.

The other name that comes to mind is former UFC bantamweight champion, Petr Yan. Yan’s greatest display of his striking prowess came against Jose Aldo at UFC 251. ‘No Mercy’ landed 194 of 309 significant strikes and a total of 258 of 376 strikes.

This epic striking performance helped Yan beat Aldo via a 5th round TKO to win the championship. Apart from Yan and Dillashaw, Cory Sandhagen seems like the only other fighter who could beat O’Malley and his striking capabilities.

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While champion Aljamain Sterling could also match ‘Sugar’ in his striking prowess. The proof of that came in his fight against Pedro Munhoz where he landed 174 of 349 strikes.

What next for Sean O’Malley?

O’Malley himself has called out a plethora of UFC fighters including the likes of Rob Font and Dominick Cruz. The most interesting fight would be to see Cruz facing O’Malley. Cruz is a former champion and he would test O’Malley in a way no one else has. Therefore, it would be a significant challenge for ‘Sugar’ and it will be interesting to see that fight.

However, although it seems highly unlikely could a fight between Rob Font and O’Malley happen? Rob Font is No.3 in the UFC bantamweight rankings and ideally should not fight an unranked opponent. However ‘Sugar’ is not just any opponent, he has got a lot of traction and a win over him would certainly give Font a deserved push.

Add to that the fact that Font doesn’t really have anyone to face at the moment. Sterling and Yan will be having their rematch sometime in the future, while Dillashaw and Sandhagen are set to compete at UFC Fight Night 192. Therefore, a fight between O’Malley and Font seems like a viable option at this point in time.

Who do you think Sean O’Malley will face next? Let us know in the comments.

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Paras Pande

398 articles

Paras Pande is a UFC author at EssentiallySports who is pursuing his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication. An ardent follower of the UFC, he has been covering the sport for 2 years now. Before joining the team at EssentiallySports, Paras gained expertise as an MMA writer whilst working with Sportskeeda.

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