Sean O’Malley’s Thoughts On Umar Nurmagomedov “I Believe Umar Is A Potential Superstar”

Reigning UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley sees many interesting potential matchups in the 135-pound division, including the undefeated Umar Nurmagomedov.

Despite recent inactivity, Nurmagomedov impressed in his most recent showing this past Saturday, with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Bekzat Almakhan at UFC Vegas 87.

Without looking past his title defense this weekend at UFC 299 versus Marlon “Chito” Vera, O’Malley is still keeping an eye out for other future opponents.

“People think I’m avoiding tough fights,” O’Malley told ESPN. “Umar is probably the toughest fight, and yeah, I’ve been bringing his name up – but it also has to make sense. Umar isn’t a star at all. There’s potential to be a star/star – superstar. I believe I’m a superstar. I believe ‘Chito’ (Vera) is a star. I believe Umar is a potential superstar, literally because he has the last name Nurmagomedov. I’ve never watched the dude fight. I’ve watched some highlights. He’s very skilled. He trains at a good gym. His last name is Nurmagomedov. He’s Russian. He has potential because of that.

“I lied – I think I’ve watched him fight some dude where I think he kneed him in the lips, so I’ve watched him fight once. I feel like just with the name and the skill of the UFC being able to promote certain people, and he comes from that gym – Khabib (Nurmagomedov), I think they train together; he’ll in his corner. O’Malley – Irish … it’s there. There’s something there. If he can become a star with that, that’s the fight I want, too. I don’t want just the easiest fight. I want the biggest fight, and if I have two options and one guy I think is a little bit better of a challenge, I’ll take that one.”

-Sean O’Malley via ESPN MMA

(h/t MMAJunkie)

While Nurmagomedov’s various cancelled bouts in recent years have raised questions regarding his level of activity, he has clearly been able to overcome the adversity of injuries and make a strong return.

Now, the 17-0 Russian fighter has hopes to fight this coming June at UFC 303 during International Fight Week 2024. Additionally, Nurmagomedov even has an opponent in mind, as he hopes to make up for a cancelled bout and face Cory Sandhagen.

UFC 299 in set to go down this Saturday from the Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida, and the competitors of the bantamweight division, including Nurmagomedov, will no doubt be watching in anticipation to see who will be sitting at the top by the end of the evening.


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