Pedro Munhoz will not make it easy for Sean O’Malley to continue his rise when they face off at UFC 276
The bantamweight division is perhaps the most richly talented in all of MMA, let alone the UFC, right now, so no fight seems to be anything less than a tough test.
And if you ask Pedro Munhoz, it’s been quite the competition he’s had to face over the last few years.
Munhoz is just 2-4 in his last six, but his opponents have included no shortage of former champions and big names — Cody Garbrandt, Aljamain Sterling, Frankie Edgar, Jimmie Rivera, Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz.
That gets expanded even more come UFC 276, where he’ll open the pay-per-view portion of the card against a rising star in Sean O’Malley.
Pedro Munhoz feels he has what it takes to push, finish Sean O’Malley at UFC 276
“It is pretty crazy,” Munhoz said in his UFC 276 pre-fight media scrum. “That’s what I have been talking about [in] all the interviews. They have been asking the same question — your last six fights, it was five former champions, four Fights of the Night. So yeah, when I think I’m gonna able to rest a little bit, they just give me another huge test.”
Ever since Sean O’Malley’s performance on the second-ever episode of Dana White’s Contender Series, he has seemed to be a project for the UFC to turn into a big-name star.
After his Contender Series knockout of Alfred Khashakyan, O’Malley won four straight — though a two-year span filled with injury and USADA issues separated each pair of fights — topped by a highlight knockout of Eddie Wineland.
O’Malley’s undefeated record came to a sudden end, courtesy of Marlon Vera, but he has since rebounded with finishes of Thomas Almeida, Kris Moutinho and Raulian Paiva.
“I believe that he’s legit,” Munhoz said. “People asked me that same question before and my answer remains the same. I think he’s legit. He won a lot of the fights, He’s tall, long, fights both stance, has a lot of skills. I’m definitely going to be like a great test for him.”
O’Malley tends to put on a show inside the Octagon (he is called “The Suga Show” after all), and he has seen 11 of his 15 wins come via KO/TKO.
Munhoz, however, might end up being a different case for him, as “The Young Punisher” hasn’t been knocked out or submitted in his MMA career.
And if O’Malley wants to go through Munhoz and continue to rise up the UFC’s 135-pound rankings, Munhoz plans to make him go through a war.
In fact, Munhoz says he can win within the distance.
“I think I can stop him within three rounds for sure,” Munhoz said.
“It’s gonna be a war, 100 percent. Every time that I step in the Octagon, I’m ready to give everything that I have. Every single drip of sweat and don’t regret anything when I leave the Octagon. So and Saturday night is not going to be different. You know, I’m willing to take everything that I can, push him to the limits and take it into deep waters.”