Is Sean O’Malley your fighter of the year?
The colorful bantamweight is a talented prospect in a division full of killers. Besides a loss to Marlon Vera in 2020, O’Malley has looked great in his UFC run. “Suga” shows solid power and pinpoint accuracy in his bouts.
Yet, as many on the internet will quickly point out, O’Malley hasn’t exactly faced the stiffest competition. But that seemed to be neither here nor there, for the flashy fighter recently took to Instagram to proclaim himself the “Fighter of the Year.”
“2021 fighter of the year. Thanks 🙌🏽
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In a later appearance on The Full Send Podcast, O’Malley admitted he was intentionally trying to rile people up by making this claim and gave his nod to Kamaru Usman as the true fighter of the year.
How Does The Suga Show Compare?
Of course, when deciding who should be crowned “Fighter of the Year,” one has to dig a bit into the competition faced.
O’Malley fought zero ranked opponents in 2021. Thomas Almeida was on a three-fight losing streak when he met the 27-year-old striker. Chris Moutinho had never fought on the big stage and was brought in as a late replacement, even though multiple UFC-proven fighters offered to step up on short notice for the bout.
O’Malley’s most recent victim, Raulian Paiva, was on a three-fight win streak, but the undersized bantamweight had bounced between 125lbs. and 135lbs. over the last few years. All in all, it’s easy to see that O’Malley was trolling with his Instagram post.
There are no easy fights in a promotion like the UFC, but there are levels to this stuff. Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman also went 3-0 in 2021. His current run saw him knockout Jorge Masvidal, Gilbert Burns and take a decision over Colby Covington.
Another fighter that comes to mind for his 2021 streak is Charles Oliveira. The lightweight champ overcame adversity in bouts with Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier to win and then defend his UFC gold.
Who is your 2021 fighter of the year?
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