There’s a theory in MMA that promotions should largely avoid booking fights between rising stars, until they collide at the top of the division. But, undefeated Manny Bermudez isn’t on board with that idea, in fact, he’s targeting a fight with fellow up-and-comer, Sean O’Malley.
If you’re a big-time, UFC fan, then you’ve probably latched onto the name Manny Bermudez a little while ago. The “Bermudez Triangle” joined the promotion last year, and since then, the 24-year-old fighter has gone 3-0 to move his overall record to 14-0. Not only that, but Bermudez has finished all three of his UFC fights via submission. Most recently at UFC Phoenix last weekend he tapped out Benito Lopez in the opening round.
It remains to be seen what’s next for the rising bantamweight, but, unlike a lot of fighters, Bermudez isn’t necessarily interested in fighting an established veteran. Case in point, following his latest victory, he had this to say about his next bout (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I want to keep on fighting the up-and-coming guys,” Bermudez said. “I want to fight all the young, new undefeated kids that are popping up on the radar. I don’t see any reason that we don’t fight each other. It’s cool because you get to see the up-and-coming talent that has grown up doing this their whole lives.”
“I would love to fight Sean O’Malley next,” Bermudez said. “He’s a big name, up-and-coming kid just like me. He’s super popular, but I think our styles match up in a way where I’d be able to take him out. Two undefeated kids fighting each other makes for the best fights – I don’t see why not. Two kids who are hungry and want it, dog eat dog and working super hard to show their skills – it’s better than a veteran just stomping people. O’Malley next, and then we’ll see.”
It’s an interesting point, and there’s no question that fights between undefeated prospects have a compelling storyline attached. Case in point, the aforementioned Lopez was 9-0 before he faced Bermudez.
But in the case of O’Malley, even though he has less official UFC bouts than Bermudez, he’s already established a bigger audience than the latter. So, would the promotion be interested in this match-up at this stage of the game? Or, could they look at having O’Malley fight a mainstream name as a means to generate even more interest? After all, while hardcore fans would certainly love to see a bout between Bermudez and O’Malley, having “Sugar” face say Thomas Almeida or John Dodson would move more tickets and views.