“A lot of the high-level grappling matches with straight jiu-jitsu guys, you see a lot of 50/50s and a lot of stalling in positions,” O’Malley said. “All these guys are fighters or former fighters; these guys aren’t into that. The list of people I saw in this looked like a ton of killers.”
With black belt after black belt in the lineup, O’Malley knows he comes in as an underdog, and while he’s eager to enjoy his time in his first grappling event, there’s a certain pressure coming in, a pressure that helps his agenda of proving he’s one of the baddest all-around fighters in the world.
Lack of experience, “only” a BJJ purple belt and a reputation for striking are all factors working against O’Malley, but would the young man who won Fight of the Night at UFC 222 let any perceived disadvantage ruin his experience?
“With the people I’ve seen, the only guy that’s similar size to me is Chad Mendes. I don’t see anybody even close to my size,” O’Malley said. “I feel like I’m going to be a huge underdog since all of these guys are high-level black belts, but I think there’s still a fun aspect to it where since it’s jiu-jitsu you can’t really put yourself in that much of a dangerous position but anything can happen.”