Sean O’Malley details plan to finish this year as biggest star in sports: “I will be as big as Conor”

By Josh Evanoff - January 4, 2024

UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley believes that he will end this year as the biggest name in sports.

Sean O'Malley, UFC

‘Sugar’ hasn’t been seen in the cage since his first career title shot in August, at UFC 292. Facing longtime bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, he scored a second-round knockout victory. After years of hype, it seems that Sean O’Malley has finally arrived.

In March at UFC 299, the bantamweight champion hopes to keep the momentum going. At the event, Sean O’Malley will reignite his feud with Marlon Vera. In 2020, ‘Chito’ scored a first-round stoppage victory, after the rising star suffered an injury. Nearly four years later, they will run it back for UFC gold.

Speaking to ESPN MMA in a recent interview, Sean O’Malley previewed his UFC 299 return. There, he revealed some big goals for 2024. One of those goals is to become the biggest name in sports. No, not just combat sports. O’Malley believes a victory over Vera, as well as a subsequent title defense, will be enough to get him there.

In the interview, Sean O’Malley often drew reference to Conor McGregor. For years, ‘The Notorious’ has been the biggest star in MMA. Thanks to the success of the Irishman, the bantamweight champion believes his own goals aren’t out of reach. If McGregor could have massive success years ago, O’Malley is sure he can do the same, and better.


Sean O'Malley and Marlon Vera

Sean O’Malley discusses hopes to become the biggest star in sports in 2024

“I would like to get another one in by the end of the year [after Vera], and be the biggest star in sports. Not just combat sports.” Sean O’Malley stated in a recent interview with ESPN MMA, discussing his goals for 2024. “I think I go out there, put two beautiful performances together, and I will be as big as Conor [McGregor]. The UFC’s grown 40, 50% since Conor was really in his prime. That COVID really boosted the UFC so I have a lot more eyeballs, a lot more opportunity to become a star.”

He continued, “When I say stuff like that people are always like ‘Oh you want to be Conor’, he’s the biggest star in combat sports. Of course, I would want to be as big as him. When people say that, it sounds a little silly. Especially seeing Conor do it, I believed in myself and knew I wanted to do stuff like that before Conor came on the scene and did it. But the fact that he did it, allows me to dream bigger.”

“Like, oh, he can make $100 million, I want to make $200 million.” Sean O’Malley concluded, “Like, I can dream bigger now because of what he’s done. I foresee that in my future, for sure.”

What do you make of these comments from Sean O’Malley? Do you believe that ‘Sugar’ will eventually become the biggest star in sports?


Sean O'Malley UFC