Mario Bautista, aiming for UFC championship glory, reflects on his decade-long journey alongside current bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley. Both fighters started their careers in Arizona, harboring dreams of reaching the UFC. Now, with O’Malley holding the bantamweight title, Bautista, riding a five-fight win streak, looks to break into the top 15 rankings in his upcoming bout against Ricky Simon at UFC Vegas 84.
Bautista reminisces about their early days, evolving from amateurs to pro fighters, sharing the highs and lows of their careers. Despite not training together for Bautista’s upcoming fight due to stylistic differences with Simon, the camaraderie remains strong. Bautista acknowledges O’Malley’s loyalty and willingness to assist teammates whenever needed.
While biased in favor of his friend, Bautista expresses confidence in O’Malley’s rematch against Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC 299. He anticipates O’Malley’s improvements and expects a victory. Looking ahead to his own aspirations, Bautista envisions a spot in the rankings after his upcoming fight as a stepping stone toward a potential UFC title shot.
The prospect of facing O’Malley, his teammate and the current champion, in the future is a topic Bautista hasn’t dwelled on. He acknowledges the potential conflict of interest but emphasizes addressing it when the time comes, focusing on his journey and pursuit of UFC gold.