Sean O’Malley: Conor McGregor and I headlining UFC 296 ‘would be massive,’ claims UFC 292 did 570k buys

Sean O’Malley still hasn’t returned to full training, but he would love the opportunity to headline UFC 296 opposite Conor McGregor.

“I think it would be massive, me and Conor on a pay-per-view,” O’Malley said Thursday on his eponymous podcast. “But also, I could do my own pay-per-view and Conor could do his own PPV, and mine wouldn’t be as big yet. But I could do one of the biggest PPVs in the UFC right now.”

Former two-division champion Henry Cejudo claimed O’Malley’s title-winning fight against Aljamain Sterling drew between 300,000 and 350,000 buys of the UFC 292 pay-per-view, citing a source from within the UFC’s broadcast partner, ESPN. PPV numbers are not disclosed publicly, making those numbers impossible to verify, though O’Malley wrote on Twitter that they were false – and firing back at Cejudo.

Henry sayin Me and Aljo “only” did 350k ppv according to his (girlfriend ) source. I just talked to the ufc and I heard upwards of 570k … legit no kizzy not making this up heard Aljo vs Henry did 135k. Also Henry 5’2 lol

O’Malley is headed to Las Vegas on Friday for a meeting with UFC President Dana White and matchmaker Sean Shelby, but he said the meeting is less business than personal.

“I still haven’t heard anything about pay-per-view numbers for the Aljo/Suga Sean fight,” he said. “Maybe I’ll hear about that from the UFC and see what they say. I haven’t heard any numbers get released. … If it did like [750,000], I’d be like, ‘Damn, that’s pretty f****** sweet for headlining my first PPV.’”

McGregor posted a screen shot – later revealed by White to be fake – of a UFC Fight Pass graphic announcing his fight with opposing The Ultimate Fighter 31 coach Michael Chandler at UFC 296. Such a booking would mean the promotion had gotten the former two-division champion an exemption from a six-month drug testing window he is required to complete as a fighter re-enrolling in the anti-doping program overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

White didn’t outright dismiss the idea, saying “we’ll see what happens” on the shape of the UFC 296 card. But O’Malley said his presence alongside McGregor “would be expensive” to the promotion, which would share revenue with both headliners.

O’Malley also hasn’t returned to training, having suffered a rib injury prior to his win over Sterling. The bantamweight star said he’d also recently been diagnosed with “turf foot,” an injury that required time to heal on its own after he kicked a sparring partner in the elbow.

O’Malley doesn’t expect to get his next fight this week. But he is excited to sketch out his future as champ.

“I’m going to Vegas tomorrow morning,” he said. “I’m going to sit down with – [UFC Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell] has been the one I’ve been doing most of these last few fights with. He’s in Paris, [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby and Dana are in Vegas, so I’m going to have a little meetings with them and just kind of see what’s next. It’s going to be exciting.”

Below is O’Malley’s full interview.

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