The popular bantamweight is in need of a new opponent for UFC 264 after O’Malley’s originally scheduled opponent Louis Smolka was forced to withdraw from the show due to injury. Almost immediately, bantamweight contenders Merab Dvalishvili and Ricky Simon volunteered their services, as did flyweight veteran Tim Elliott and one-time UFC title challenger Ray Borg.
With fight night a little over a week away, O’Malley posted a short clip to Instagram in which he appeared to select Simon as his preferred replacement.
“Where you at, Simon?” O’Malley shouted in the video, pronouncing Simon’s last name incorrectly.
The matchmakers are hoping to keep O’Malley on the card after he made a successful return to the octagon at UFC 260 in March, when he defeated Thomas Almeida by first-round KO. “Sugar” is currently 5-1 in the UFC and 13-1 overall as a pro.
Simon (18-3) is riding a three-fight win streak, with victories over Brian Kelleher, Gaetano Pirrello, and Borg. The former Legacy Fighting Alliance bantamweight champion is 6-2 since joining the UFC in 2017.