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Sean O'Malley Names Mistake From Cory Sandhagen He Won't Replicate Against Aljamain Sterling At UFC 292

10 months on from the biggest victory of his career to date, UFC bantamweight star Sean O’Malley is finally set to cash in on his first title shot on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage.

Having previously not defeated ranked opposition inside the Octagon, O’Malley burst into contention last October courtesy of an upset victory over former champion Petr Yan at UFC 280.

“Sugar” then awaited the return of Henry Cejudo to play out, and with Aljamain Sterling maintaining his place on the throne this past May in Newark, the pair will collide in this weekend’s UFC 292 main event.

Ahead of the Boston-held pay-per-view, most have branded the headliner a classic striker vs. grappler matchup, perhaps most akin to Sterling’s clash with another tall, long striker in Cory Sandhagen a number of years ago.

But while “The Sandman” fell victim to the champ’s grappling prowess and was choked unconscious in just 88 seconds, O’Malley is confident of avoiding the mistake that led to that fate.

O’Malley: Sandhagen Was ‘Too Calm’ Against Sterling

During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, O’Malley looked ahead to his first opportunity at achieving champion status in the UFC and assessed the threat he’ll face inside the cage come fight night at the TD Garden.

While “Sugar” has long touted his calmness as a favorable and beneficial attribute, he noted that leaning too far into that this time around will replicate the error Sandhagen made in his collision with “Funk Master” back in 2020.

“When I’m walking out, I’m very calm… That’s where I perform best, is calm,” O’Malley said. “The feeling is going to be internally the same; calm… You’ll feel it through the TV, like, ‘Oh sh*t, this is a big one.’ But internally, I will be calm. That’s the mistake Cory made, and he said it too, against Aljo. He was just too calm.

“Aljo’s gonna come and sprint at me and try to grab ahold of me, ’cause he knows the dangers of not grabbing me. He knows he’s gonna get knocked out,” O’Malley continued. “I have to be very calm, but I have to be ready to kill.”

With that in mind, although O’Malley is planning to be his usual cool and collected self upon his walk to the cage in Boston, he’s seemingly aware of the importance of being ready for anything from the word go.

The 28-year-old Montana native will be hoping that paves the way for some displays of successful takedown defense and openings on the feet — one of which he expects to present an opportunity for the fight-ending, title-winning knockout he’s long proclaimed as likely.

Ready to put on his biggest show yet 👀 @SugaSeanMMA fights for gold Saturday night 🏆#UFC292 | SATURDAY | Live on @ESPNPlus PPV

— UFC (@ufc) August 14, 2023

Read Also: Cory Sandhagen Explains Why It’s ‘Hard To Put Any Chips’ On Sean O’Malley Yet

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