While T.J. Dillashaw applauds Sean O'Malley on landing the Petr Yan bout, he doesn't believe O'Malley is prepared for the challenge.
At UFC 280 on October 22, Dillashaw fights bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling for the championship, while O'Malley faces former champion Yan (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC).
Having just fought to a no contest against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 in July, O'Malley will be taking a big step up in competition against Yan. Dillashaw agrees that O'Malley has a large fan base, but he believes that Yan is too strong for him.
“Yeah, absolutely surprised (by the booking), for sure,” Dillashaw said. “O’Malley has never done anything to fight a guy of Petr Yan’s caliber, other than hype himself up. He does have a lot of fans, he does have a lot of hype, and he’s worked his ass off to get that. Part of the sport is being a salesman, and he’s done a very good job with that.
“So, he’s great for the sport. He’s great for our weight class and bringing a lot of attention. I don’t see him winning, but he’s got some range on him, and he’s got a pace, and we’ll see. But most likely Yan is going to be able to run through him.”
After defeating Sterling, Dillashaw (17-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) would like to face Jose Aldo or the winner of Yan vs. O'Malley. In the main event of UFC 278, "The King of Rio" will take against Merab Dvalishvili on Saturday at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
“Him or Aldo,” Dillashaw said. “I mean, Aldo’s been making a great statement, as well, too, so we’ll see which way the UFC wants to take it after I get out there and get my belt back.”