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Morning Report: Sean O’Malley says Ilia Topuria gets ‘pieced up’ by Max Holloway, jokes he’s next Cody Garbrandt

Ilia Topuria has become a superstar since he won the UFC featherweight title.

The same can be said for the bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley. However, O’Malley’s superstardom arguably came before he was crowned his division’s best fighter, a label he also claimed before Topuria.

A polarizing figure in the MMA space, “Sugar” knows how to get the masses talking, whether it’s positive or negative. O’Malley, 29, kicked off his title reign by rematching Marlon Vera at UFC 299 this past May, winning the fight in an impressive unanimous decision. In the build-up, he spoke often about hoping to have a champion vs. champion clash with Topuria afterward. Topuria wasn’t yet the champion when O’Malley first presented the concept. “El Matador” ultimately made good on his title promises when he knocked out Alexander Volkanovski one month before O’Malley’s Vera defense.

O’Malley has since kept the Topuria talk to a minimum. After seeing this past week’s official UFC pound-for-pound ranking update, which has the No. 5-ranked Topuria one spot ahead of him, O’Malley couldn’t help himself.

“How the f*ck is Ilia above me on the pound-for-pound?” O’Malley asked on his YouTube channel. “He’s five inches shorter and has less title defenses. Those are just facts. I wasn’t trying to be funny [on Twitter], I was stating facts and I got a lot of hate for it. They’re like, ‘He should be, he beat ‘Volk.’’ Buddy, I really could give a f*ck less where I’m at on the pound-for-pound [list].”

Although either champions’ next title defenses aren’t official, O’Malley and Topuria are expected to battle tough opposition in the forms of Merab Dvalishvili and Max Holloway. From O’Malley’s end, he still has no update on the possible bout’s status, though he still hopes it happens at Noche UFC in September.

Meanwhile, Topuria and Holloway remain at a standstill in their fight negotiations, having bantered recently on Twitter. Should the fight happen as fans hope, O’Malley believes the BMF champion Holloway will start his second featherweight title reign.

“Ilia’s gonna be the next Cody Garbrandt,” O’Malley said. “He won his nice little fight he had, his little Dominick Cruz performance — he’s about to get pieced up by Max Holloway and then go downhill from there. Not really. I feel like Ilia is one of the most skilled guys actually in the UFC, but f*ck Ilia.”

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The MMA Hour.

Free fight.

Prep for CJI.

Jinjer doesn’t play around.

Go to Twitter, use the #MorningReport hashtag, or find one of my tweets with it, and drop me a jam you’re currently really into. I’ll pick the best one alongside my daily choice and give you a shoutout! You can also share in the comments below — those are just harder to sift through sometimes!

Levels, as they say.



Near KO.

He never learned.

Why not?


Help wanted.



I hate to say it, but there are some decent comparisons to be made between Topuria and Garbrandt’s rises. Mostly on paper and not as much skill or performance-wise. However, I’d be shocked to see a similar outcome for Topuria.

Thanks for reading!


How many times will Ilia Topuria successfully defend his title?

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.


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