Undefeated UFC welterweight contender Sean Brady (15-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) last stepped into the promotion's famed octagon in November, taking out perennial contender Michael Chiesa, and he's itching to get another appearance booked.
Currently sitting at No. 9 in the organization's official welterweight rankings, Brady is hoping to be paired with a top-10 foe sooner rather than later.
"I fought Chiesa, and everyone knows how hard I am on myself," Brady told MMA Underground. "That wasn't my best performance. I got the win. That's what counts, but I want to get back in there and show what I can really do."
Brady was forced to grind out a decision over Chiesa in a fight that wasn't heavy on action and left some wondering if the undefeated contender's cardio was going to be an issue as he progresses in his career. What many didn't realize at the time was that Chiesa broke Brady's nose very early in the contest, and it had a major impact on how things played out.
"I broke my nose so many times," Brady said. "I broke it in the Chiesa fight the first punch. People were online saying, 'Sean's cardio sucks,' but what people don't know is that two minutes into the first round, I broke my nose, and I couldn't breathe out of my nose or my mouth because I had blood just pouring down my throat, so I had to really grind that one out."
Brady has since had surgery to repair his septum, and now he's anxious to get a fight booked against another top contender. He was hoping to face No. 6-ranked Vicente Luque, but the Brazilian was recently booked against No. 12 Geoff Neal, so now Brady is looking at other possibilities, including names like No. 7 Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson.
"Everybody was available, and now everyone's getting booked and I'm just waiting around," Brady said. "I honestly, truly thought it was going to be me and Luque. He was coming off a loss, but he's still No. 6 in the world. I'm No. 9. I really, really thought that was the fight, and then to see him booked with Geoff Neal, that was kind of like a punch in the gut, so now I want anybody in the top 10.
"I understand somebody like 'Wonderboy,' he doesn't want to fight a grappler. I get that, but at the end of the day, this is MMA. You can't just say you want to fight a striker. If you want to do fights like that, get out of the top 10. Get out of the top 15. Let younger guys like me who are trying to build our names do our thing. You've already fought for the belt. You've done all these things. Let us go and do that, you know?"
Brady also mentioned No. 8 Jorge Masvidal and No. 5 Belal Muhammad as options, as well as former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier, who has teased a potential move up to 170 pounds for a summer appearance.
"Masvidal is right there," Brady said. "I think me and Belal would be a good one. Obviously I would understand him saying no because he just beat Luque, and Luque was No. 5, but me and Belal were matched up in 2020. I had to pull out because I had an injury. He actually wound up getting COVID that week and couldn't even compete in the fight that he had scheduled, so we have a little bit of history. I don't know what's going to happen with him, but I think that me and him would be a nice headliner for a Fight Night.
"If not, I see Dustin Poirier is out there trying to get a fight at 170. I'll fight that m----------- at 170. I just want something big, and I think I deserve it, so we'll see what happens."
In the meantime, Brady is keeping himself busy outside of the UFC while still feeding his need for competition. On Saturday, he takes on longtime UFC and Bellator veteran Ben Saunders in a no-gi grappling match in the main event of FURY Professional Grappling 4, which streams live from Philadelphia's 2300 Arena on UFC Fight Pass, the UFC's online streaming service.
The 10-minute match will be contested at 185 pounds and marks Brady's second appearance for the promotion after also scoring a decision win over grappling phenom Craig Jones in December.
"Grappling events are fun, and it's even funner because all my teammates are on the card, and once you're in the UFC, you don't get to do that very often," Brady said. "You don't get to compete with all your teammates like you do on these regional shows, and I try to tell all these younger guys now to enjoy it because I loved it so much. Driving down to Atlantic City or going to the 2300 Arena when me and all the guys were fighting for CFFC, there's nothing like it."
After this weekend, Brady said he'll stay by the phone, waiting for the UFC's next offer. He's willing to face anyone in the division as he looks to make his way up to a future title shot, and he's hoping the promotion will offer him an opponent that will help him move in that direction.
"I just want someone in the top 10," Brady said. "That's what we're waiting for, so we'll see what happens."
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