UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley talked about a UFC athlete he admired the most in terms of skills. He named UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and even said that he is intimidated by him.
In combat sports like martial arts, it is normal for professional athletes to admire and respect others, especially those from the previous era. But, it is quite rare for athletes to adore other athletes who are still actively competing, likely due to making themselves look inferior.
But, current UFC bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley isn’t afraid of naming the athlete he admired. During a recent podcast appearance, O’Malley was asked about which UFC athletes that O’Malley impressed by.
O’Malley was quick to name UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. He explained that from his eyes as a professional mixed martial artist, Makhachev is such a well-calculated and rounded athlete, who possessed impressive grappling and striking skills. Not just that. O’Malley also revealed that he once had a nightmare of having to face Makhachev.
“I’d say Islam, Islam’s so f*cking scary. I had a nightmare that I had to fight him, I woke up and I was- ‘Oh God, thanks God that wasn’t real ’cause I’d knock that motherf*cker out!” O’Malley said.
He added, “No, I actually woke up and was like ‘Oh f**k that. I thought I was going to walk out and fight Islam.”
Islam Makhachev was first underestimated by many fans and athletes alike. But, the 32-year-old Dagestani proved to be one of the best MMA athletes. With phenomenal Sambo skill, he climbed his way up and defeated former champion Charles Oliveira to win the lightweight belt.
Makhachev also honed his skill even more. He improved his striking which was showcased during the two matches against Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev won the first match via unanimous decision. In the rematch, he successfully knocked Volkanovski out with a brutal head kick in the first round.
Meanwhile, Sean O’Malley himself is an impressive striker. Thanks to that, he always delivered exciting matches and gained tons of fans. “Sugar” is up to defend his title for the first time against former opponent Marlon “Chito” Vera. The two will clash at UFC 299 in March.