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Ryan Garcia: ‘I will destroy Sean O’Malley’ in UFC fight

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Ryan Garcia wants a piece of Sean O’Malley inside the octagon.

During an appearance on The MMA Hour, Garcia boldly declared that he is eager to challenge the UFC’s reigning bantamweight champion in MMA as opposed to boxing. Garcia sports a 24-1 (20 KOs) record in boxing and has a highly anticipated bout with Devin Haney coming up on April 20, but he is confident that he can step into O’Malley’s world and be victorious.

“I’ll beat his ass in MMA guaranteed,” Garcia said. “I’m a natural, you don’t understand. I’m a natural wrestler. I just beat my security that’s a wrestler, I beat him. I’m strong and I’ve got crazy conditioning.”

Garcia and O’Malley have publicly gone back and forth about the possibility of a boxing match, though O’Malley also has an important fight coming up. He defends his title for the first time at UFC 299 in a rematch against Marlon Vera, the only man to defeat him in MMA so far.

Several MMA stars have made lucrative jumps from the cage to the ring, most notably Conor McGregor when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, and just this past October when Francis Ngannou went the distance against Tyson Fury. Neither McGregor nor Ngannou had their hands raised in their boxing debuts, but Garcia believes that he’s qualified to successfully pull off the crossover.

“That’s already been done,” Garcia said of setting up a boxing match against O’Malley. “I know I’m going to knock him out in boxing, that’s not even fair. What is fair is to test myself in MMA because I know if I put my mind to it and I trained every day, and I had Nate [Diaz] helping me, even Alex Pereira, all of them, and I really locked in, he will not beat me.

“I will come with everything I have and I will destroy Sean O’Malley. In the UFC.”

According to Garcia, it’s not just talk. He claims that he has already put out feelers for the matchup and contacted UFC CEO Dana White.

“I’ve already sent text messages to Dana,” Garcia said. “I’ve already got people that are connected to Dana to ask him, let’s do this. I’ll come to UFC, pay me a bag, I’m there. I’m down to do it after Devin Haney.

“All I know is, Dana, hit me back, I’m trying to beat Sean O’Malley’s ass.”

At 25, Garcia has already become one of boxing’s most talked-about stars, establishing a massive following on social media and winning his first 23 pro bouts before getting stopped by Gervonta Davis last April. “King Ryan” rebounded with an eighth-round knockout of Oscar Duarte eight months later.

O’Malley has experienced a similar rise to fame since being signed out of the UFC’s Contender Series in 2017. He won the UFC bantamweight title this past August with a second-round knockout of Aljamain Sterling, which pushed him to another level of stardom. Garcia sees moneymaking potential in the matchup and insisted that there’s no beef between O’Malley and him.

“I mean, he’s been calling me out for a while,” Garcia said. “He called me out first, let’s put that on the record. Second, he tried to claim my theme song, Superstar. I came out with that way before he even thought of it. I actually came out with Lupe Fiasco myself. Don’t let people gas you up, brother, I came up with that, you did not. You’re just a walking Conor McGregor Jr.

“Everything is based off that. Now he’s coming into his own, but it was all Conor. He got the tattoo in the middle of his chest, the only difference is he painted his hair rainbow.”

Garcia complimented O’Malley’s fighting style, calling it “actually really dope,” but nothing he’s seen from “Sugar” is putting him off from his request to duel O’Malley under MMA rules.

He’s even willing to do it this year after he’s settled his business with Haney. Ideally, he will win that fight and then consult a dream team of MMA fighters in the lead-up to the fight, including Conor McGregor.

“I’m down for that,” Garcia said. “Next. Just give me three or four months of just MMA training, I’ll go beat his ass.

“I told Nate to train me a little bit. I would even ask Conor to let me train with him for a little bit. Every month would be a new coach: Conor, Alex Pereira, Nate, and just somebody else. That would be sick.”

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