Andre Soukhamthath Addresses Criticism in Loss to Sean O’Malley at UFC 222

At UFC
222
, Andre
Soukhamthath
faced off against the highly regarded Sean
O’Malley
in a bantamweight bout. O’Malley is seen as a real
prospect at 135 pounds after he was discovered on Dana
White
‘s Tuesday Night Contender Series last July and so far the
23-year old has shown a lot of promise in his two victories inside
the Octagon.

O’Malley again displayed slick footwork and striking to outpoint
his opponent Soukhamthath. However, a focal point of the fight
happened at the start of the third round when O’Malley threw a
seemingly innocuous head kick, which injured the rising star’s leg,
forcing him to hop around the Octagon. At that point the fight was
there for the taking and where it all went wrong for
Soukhamthath.

Instead of making O’Malley stand up on his injured leg and force
him into a striking match on one leg, Soukhamthath surprisingly
decided to take O’Malley down which confused and frustrated most
people — including his own coaching staff — who were screaming at
him to stand up and fight.

Joe Rogan was bemused at the time, questioning the decision to
wrestle and even UFC President Dana White mentioned the decision at
the post-fight press conference.

Southkamthath talked with ESPN about his thought process during the fight
and the unwavering criticism he’s faced as a result including being
labelled as the dumbest fighter in UFC history.

“I’m getting trolled right now by so many people,” Soukamthath
says. “They are calling me the dumbest fighter in MMA. The dumbest
fighter in UFC history. Even my friend Rashad [Evans]. Everyone is
wondering why I decided to wrestle, and I’m wondering the same
thing.

“After he rocked me, I still stayed in the fight, but I was kind of
dizzy and dazed afterwards,” Soukhamthath says. “That shot really
threw me off the rest of the game plan in the fight. I really
wasn’t there.

”I think I was just fighting with instincts. I definitely regret
it, because I’m a striker first and a wrestler second. If I would
have just done my thing out there, I easily would have won the
fight.”

O’Malley was already well ahead on the scoreboard before the leg
injury and Soukhamthath’s only realistic chance to win the fight
was to finish him. The fight ended via a unanimous decision victory
for O’Malley, who had to conduct his post-fight interview with
Rogan on his back due to the injury.

At the end of the day, Soukhamthath acknowledged what he did wrong
and won’t let the negative comments keep him down.

“I know what I did wrong. I realize what I did. I’m going to
capitalize on my mistakes and learn from this. I’m not going to let
opinions of others get in the way of my life. I’ve been through
this before, and I’m not going to let it bring me down.”

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