Alexandre Pantoja shares his side of disputed sparring session with fellow UFC champion Sean O’Malley

By Harry Kettle - September 29, 2023

Alexandre Pantoja has given his side of what happened when he sparred with fellow UFC champion Sean O’Malley.

Sean O'Malley, Alexandre Pantoja

The landscape of the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been flipped upside down in recent months. There are new champions everywhere you turn, and that includes flyweight and bantamweight. At 125 pounds, Alexandre Pantoja is the new king of the mountain after toppling Brandon Moreno. At 135, Sean O’Malley finally made his way to the top of the mountain with a TKO win over Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292.


While Pantoja will return to action at UFC 296 where he will defend his strap against Brandon Royval, O’Malley’s future isn’t quite as certain. Following a recent back and forth between the two men recently regarding a previous sparring session they had, Pantoja has opted to set the record straight.

Pantoja hits back at O’Malley

“Nobody talks about training because we’re professionals, but O’Malley is the one that started talking about training before,” Pantoja said. “I think two or three years ago, he started talking about his training when I went to Arizona. At that moment I was training with Henry Cejudo and I went to Arizona. I traveled like 15 hours and I go to Arizona and the next day I go to train at The Lab. I trained with John Moraga and O’Malley.

“That day was a hard day for me because that was a long travel and I had jet lag, and I made a terrible training. When the training was over, I told Henry, ‘Henry, I want to train here next week. I want to be back here next week because I’m not training good today, I want to show these guys I have much more.’”

“I went with Cejudo next week and O’Malley came to train with me, he came to do three rounds,” Pantoja said. “That day I just trained with O’Malley and I beat him too much. In the second round he tried to leave saying, ‘Hey, I’m done,’ and at that point we said, ‘No, finish the training with three rounds and that’s it.’ When he came back, he had no cardio and I put him down and went to mount and punished him a lot. He says he beat me, but he has the video. I thought he was a nice kid and asked me if he could record the training, and I said of course. I told him to send me the video after the training, and he said yes, but he never sent me the video.”

“If Dana White wants me to fight O’Malley, I’m ready,” Pantoja said. “Everyone wants to fight this guy now, and I have a good history with him. I beat him one time, but that was training. Now I can make money doing that.”

Quotes via MMA Junkie

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Alexandre Pantoja Sean O'Malley UFC