Sean O’Malley Claims He’s The ‘Unranked Champ’ At Bantamweight Ahead Of UFC 269

Outspoken UFC bantamweight striker, Sean O’Malley has donned himself as the “unranked champion” of the division, ahead of next week’s UFC 269 return against Brazilian upstart, Raulian Paiva.

Undefeated in his last two straight, Montana striker, O’Malley rebounded from his first professional loss back in August of last year against Marlon Vera — stopping promotional alum, Thomas Almeida with a thunderous third round ground strike back in March at UFC 260.

Making his second Octagon walk back in July, O’Malley, a product of Dana White’s Contender Series — set multiple bantamweight striking records en route to an eventual third round knockout victory against organizational newcomer, Kris Moutinho.

Slated to return next weekend as part of the main card portion of UFC 269, O’Malley, made headlines in the months following his victory over Moutinho, claiming that it made no logical sense for him to compete against high ranked opponents at bantamweight given his current contractual status with the promotion, and the purse he received.

Speaking with The Schmo ahead of his pay-per-view main card return, O’Malley poked fun at contenders, Pedro Munhoz, as well as former two-time bantamweight best, Dominick Cruz, and their preliminary placement on the card.

‘Prelim’ Pedro (Munhoz) vs. Dominick (Cruz), it just makes sense down there (on the prelims),” O’Malley said. “I haven’t talked to anybody that’s super excited for that fight. They’re both top-10. I’m pretty sure and me and (Raulian) Paiva aren’t even ranked and we’re opening up the main card, so I think it just goes to show I’m the unranked champ.

Whilst O’Malley has issued himself a new moniker, he’ll likely find himself within the official bantamweight pile courtesy of an impressive victory against Paiva on December 11.

However, as far as champion status occurs, O’Malley still has a long list of contenders to run through first, with the division currently containing two champions in the form of interim gold holder, Petr Yan, and the incumbent, Aljamain Sterling.


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Ross Markey

An MMA fan since 2011 and covering the sport since 2016, Ross Markey has built himself into a top journalist in combat sports.

First catching on to MMA and the UFC in particular back when Brock Lesnar fought Shane Carwin, and even more so when he fought Alistair Overeem back in 2011, Ross really became enchanted with the sport from late-2013-2014 onwards.

He initially began covering MMA in tandem with football back in June 2016 just as he was finishing school. The first real event he covered on his own personal blog was UFC 200 in July of that year during international fight week. His content consisted of previews and event and results recaps. In between jobs, Ross produced content on the side before transitioning to a full-time position back in early 2019.

He initially started creating content on his own blog back in June of 2016, before becoming a staff writer, lead writer, and editor for websites such as MMA Motion, Combat Insiders, Fight Bananas, FightPost, Severe MMA, MMA Power Hour, FightBook MMA, LowKick MMA, and of course, Current MMA.

Back in 2019, Ross received the award Top Journalist of 2019 for FightBook MMA, before he was then promoted to the website's lead writer. Following a six-month period at MMA Power Hour, he was also employed as a junior editor for the company. Throughout his time in the industry, he has interviewed the likes of Colby Covington, Rhys McKee, Pedro Carvalho, Felicia Spencer, Eryk Anders, Jussier Formiga, Danni Neilan, Frans Mlambo, Alex Lohore, Blaine O'Driscoll, Modestas Bukauskas, Ross Houston, Jon Fitch, and Richie Smullen.

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