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Sean O’Malley mocks Ilia Topuria telling him who to fight next: ‘This guy’s acting like he’s running the show’

SportsSean O’Malley mocks Ilia Topuria telling him who to fight next: ‘This guy’s acting like he’s running the show’

Sean O’Malley will fight whoever the UFC throws at him next but he knows reigning featherweight champion Ilia Topuria won’t be making that decision.

Following his lopsided win over Marlon “Chito” Vera in the UFC 299 main event, O’Malley wasted no time renewing his interest in fighting Topuria next as he told the powers-that-be to get him a flight to Spain so he could face off in a champ vs. champ fight later this year. In response, Topuria congratulated O’Malley on his performance but added “there is a fight chasing you with Merab [Dvalishvili], get that done first.”

“Ilia, this guy’s acting like he’s running the show like ‘no, you sit down and wait,’” O’Malley said on The MMA Hour. “The UFC’s going to decide, buddy. This guy’s acting like he gets the call, he wants me to fight Merab. I have more title defenses so he’s talking out of his mouth a little bit too much.

“But at the end of the day, it’s going to be what uncle Dana [White], uncle Hunter [Campbell], it’s going to be whatever they want. I’m open for whatever.”

When Alexander Volkanovski held the featherweight title, O’Malley didn’t show much interest in making the move up to 145 pounds because he really liked the now former champion. The same can’t be said for Topuria, who O’Malley respects as a fighter but he also knows it would be big business if the two of them squared off in the octagon.

“I don’t know there’s just certain people that you kind of just want to fight. Ilia’s that guy,” O’Malley said. “He’s also done a really good job. He’s a star. He’s not a superstar but he’s close and it takes two names to make massive fights.

“I’ve been very vocal since I’ve been in the UFC, my goal is to get the massive fights. That’s what I want and that’s the reason behind that callout.”

UFC CEO Dana White refused to do any matchmaking after the event ended this past Saturday night but he seemingly scoffed at the suggestion that O’Malley should jump to a new division already after only his first title defense.

If that’s the case then Merab Dvalishvili appears to be the most likely candidate for O’Malley’s next opponent and he welcomes that challenge as well. In fact, O’Malley believes a showdown with Dvalishvili could definitely draw interest from the fans even if it’s not as lucrative as going after a title in another weight class.

“I definitely think a Merab fight would be pretty big,” O’Malley said. “He’s on a 10 fight win streak. He was kind of known for being boring, boring, boring and now he’s popular for being boring. It’s kind of a weird way to get popular but he did it, which is impressive.

“I think that fight can be marketed well. 10 fight win streak, I knocked out his cousin [Aljamain Sterling] and it’s all good.”

Just after he won his fight this past weekend, O’Malley was limping around backstage to get to his media obligations when he actually ran into Dvalishvili, who offered him a word of congrats before declaring himself next in line the title.

O’Malley brushed off the momentary confrontation and said to the people surrounding him that he didn’t even realize it was Dvalisvhili talking to him. It turns out, O’Malley definitely recognized the Georgian fighter but his comment made the interaction that much better.

“I did [recognize him],” O’Malley said. “I just thought that s*** would be funny.”

As far as timing goes for his next fight, O’Malley didn’t deal with any serious injuries from the five-round war with Vera, although he had his foot and hand wrapped up after UFC 299 ended.

O’Malley says that was really just precautionary measures as he walked around backstage following a grueling battle but a couple of days later and he’s already feeling better.

“I feel way better today than I did five seconds after the fight,” O’Malley said. “After the fight, your body’s just f****** inflamed, you’re hurting, my foot was real sore. I kicked him in the face with it a few times. It’s the same foot I had the Lisfranc surgery on and it was really hurting so I was a little nervous about that. They’ve got you walking miles backstage from interview to interview, doing laps around that place. I figured might as well put my foot in a boot, take a little bit of the pressure off of it.

“My forearms, hands are feeling good. I don’t think there’s any serious injuries. I haven’t gotten x-rays or anything, I don’t even know if there’s really going to be a need for it. But I think I’ll be back to running around here in a couple of days.”

With that said, O’Malley has an idea in mind for the location and date for his next fight and that matters more to him than the selection of his opponent.

“Headlining The Sphere in Vegas [at UFC 306 in September], let’s do it,” O’Malley said. “I think that makes sense. I don’t think anybody would argue against that. I think that would be legendary.

“I know Conor [McGregor’s] talked about potentially going on that card, potentially at International Fight Week so out of respect for him still being the best and the biggest in the business, I’ll take wherever I can get but I think that would be interesting.”

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