UFC Fighter “Suga” Sean O’Malley on being true to yourself and finding your passion

“Suga” Sean O’Malley is a mixed martial arts fighter in the UFC’s Bantamweight division. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet to talk about his fight on July 10th against Louis Smolka, how he got started as a fighter, the decision to have multicolored hair, how being a father has changed him, his podcast “Timbo Suga Show”, his thoughts on a dream match with Conor McGregor, what is non-negotiable in his life and much more!

On what he was like in middle school:

“I remember late middle school being the entertainer and the class clown. I remember getting in trouble with my parents. I’m like well no one wants to be there and if I can make everyone laugh and make their day enjoyable then why not. I always got in trouble at school, most of the time just for being goofy. But I was trying to make friends.”

On what he first thought he was going to be:

“I thought I was going to be in the NFL. It was 5th grade and you don’t know any better. I played a lot of football and watched the NFL a lot. I was just an average kid in Montana. At the time I didn’t realize that I wasn’t going to be this 6 foot 5, 280lb guy. I thought I was going to be in the NFL until about 8th grade, then I was like this isn’t going to happen. Then I didn’t know what I was going to do, I didn’t find fighting until I was 16. I didn’t stress about it too much. Growing up I hated school so I knew I wasn’t going to college. I was an athlete my whole life.”

On how he got into MMA:

“I did just kind of stumble across it. I was 16 years old and on vacation in Utah. My friend called me and asked if I wanted to check out this fighting gym. We went down when I got back. The first class was a jujitsu class and I wasn’t really into it. But the second class was kickboxing and oh sh*t I loved that. I didn’t do any wrestling or jujitsu, I just did kickboxing from 17 years old. I had 4 fights up until I was 18. With school I went Monday to Friday and had practise afterwards.”

On a dream match with Conor McGregor:

“Yeah Conor is quite a bit bigger, but styles make matchups. I am at 158 and he is at 170. It’s not impossible for me to fight him someday. I have to establish myself as a legend first before I can even talk about getting the big matchups. I’ve been knocking people out since I was 16, I’ve had over 30 fights. Most of those have been knockouts.”

On deciding to dye his hair:

“Well I put about as much thought into that as getting face tattoos. I thought about having crazy hair for my debut, but I didn’t have name, I wasn’t established. I had done a couple of fights and I was on the Xbox with my buddies. One of them said ‘You should do your hair like 6ix 9ine.’ My girl does all my hair, I went to her and I’m like lets do it. We went back to the salon and did the rainbow. It took 9 hours and I got back at 3am. It makes people look. The hair is definitely real. We cut 4 inches off because it wasn’t healthy, but now it is healthy and alive.”

On being a dad and how it has changed him:

“I think whoever is running this world had me have a baby at the right time. I’ve never been into partying or going to crazy clubs. After my last fight, we went out in Vegas. All these opportunities presented themselves, I’m taking advantage to get my name out. It could get very easy to get lost in the partying world. Now I can’t wait to get back to my family. It keeps me grounded and it’s a good thing. It’s fun to go out but now it’s training, gaming and raising a baby.”

On what is non-negotiable:

“Training every day, you have to find things to motivate you. Once you have made a lot of money, you start to think do I need to go to the gym today? But a lot of fighters take off more than they need to. In my personal life, I am not too set in anything. My sleep is money though. Every morning I do a 10 minute meditation. I enjoy the mediation, it makes me feel better throughout the day.”

On creating content:

“Yeah the podcast has been going for a couple of years now. That’s only one hour a week. We record it on Wednesdays at 10:30. I just show up and talk and the guys have stuff to talk about. My little brother just moved down from Montana and is trying to figure things out. So we are going to do stuff for YouTube. But shooting content is fun, I enjoy YouTube, podcasts and TikTok. I also enjoy making money from it. You don’t have to train all day every day. Only 3-4 hours a day, so I can have a lot of free time.”

On his upcoming fight and fighting style:

“Yeah if I go out there and win by decision, it’s boring. I don’t go on to fight someone with a name. If I go out there and knock someone out, I can call my shots. I think we are close to a big one though. Louis Smolka has a ton of experience and I probably won’t just run through him. For the next 10 weeks, getting in 15 minute cardio shape is my goal. People get tired of beating him up and then he finishes people. I’ve got to be ready to beat him up for 15 minutes.”

On what he is grateful for:

“Being surrounded by my family, my friends and having a passion to look forward to.”

Featured image: Montana Sports

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