Sean O’Malley delivered one of MMA’s most memorable post-fight interviews while flat on his back at UFC 222.
‘Suga’ impressed rap legend Snoop Dogg and Dana White on the Contender Series to earn a UFC contract one year prior to facing Andre Soukhamthath in March 2018.
The young prospect appeared well on his way to victory before seemingly suffering a broken foot in the third round of the bantamweight bout.
Amazingly, a clearly injured O’Malley managed to survive to hear the final bell.
The UFC star lay prone on the mat as doctors gathered around him and Bruce Buffer revealed he had just picked up a unanimous decision win.
In between looks of anguish, the now-28-year-old raised his hands in the air to celebrate and spoke with UFC legend Joe Rogan who dropped down to his level for an unnecessary post-fight chat.
“I can’t feel it, it went numb, and I couldn’t even step on it,” O’Malley said.
“I think it was a question mark quick. Oh, it really hurt! Nothing I can’t fix with a little medicine at my after-party.”
“I love this game, I love the talk, I love the media. I love everything about this sport and I f***ing love you, Joe Rogan.”
Rogan didn’t hesitate to return with some kind words for O’Malley.
“I f***ing love you too, buddy,” he said.
“What you did tonight was really fun, you are an incredibly promising young prospect. I hope your foot heals up as quickly as possible and I really, really enjoyed your fight tonight.
O’Malley signed off the epic interaction by shouting, ‘Welcome to The Suga Show everybody’ before being carted out of the T-Mobile Arena on a stretcher.
It was later revealed that the American hadn’t broken his foot and it was suggested he may have aggravated an old fracture at UFC 222.
By August 2020, O’Malley had jumped from top prospect to potential contender and was booked to face Marlon Vera at UFC 252.
‘Chito’ picked up a shocking first-round TKO victory after O’Malley’s foot once again gave out on him following an innocuous kick from his toughest opponent to date.
It was later revealed O’Malley had suffered ‘foot drop’, a temporary form of paralysis, after being kicked in the deep fibular nerve by Vera.
It is likely the same injury that impacted him against Soukhamthath.
Since then, O’Malley has won four straight fights and secured himself a title shot by outpointing former 135lb champion Petr Yan at UFC 280 last October.
He’ll square off against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292 on Saturday night.
‘The Funk Master’, who is one of the most dominant bantamweights of all time, is planning to leave the division win or lose at Boston’s TD Garden this weekend.
O’Malley hopes to send him on his way with a highlight-reel KO loss.