MMA fighting

Jack Della Maddalena takes anti-Sean O’Malley approach to UFC career: ‘I always want to fight the best person I can’

Jack Della Maddalena knows there’s no right or wrong way to approach a career in the UFC.

Bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley has spoken openly about how much money he makes compared to the level of competition he faces and why it doesn’t make much sense for him to seek out top contenders without being paid more.

There’s obviously a lot of logic in this approach, and Maddalena doesn’t necessarily disagree. But that’s not how he plans to climb the ranks before his next fight.

“There are definitely different routes you can take,” Maddalena told MMA Fighting. “Some people want to take a smarter route, take it slow, but I’m a competitive person at heart. I always want to fight the best person I can at the time.

“I’ll see how it goes, drop it naturally. But if I have the options, I will always try to fight the hardest fight I can fight at the moment.

After demolishing Pete Rodriguez in his octagon debut, Maddalena lured Russian sambo specialist Ramazan Emeev to UFC 275.

Emeev has far more experience than the Australian welterweight inside and outside of the UFC – and that’s exactly the kind of competition Maddalena wants.

While he certainly wants to get paid for his services, Maddalena also wants to storm his division as quickly as possible, and that only happens if he keeps asking for better and better opponents.

“I want to get to the top as quickly as possible,” he said. “I’m a competitive person and I want to compete against the best people I can.”

Proving that the UFC has faith in Maddalena’s potential, her second appearance with the promotion is currently slated as the pay-per-view opening of the first-ever UFC event in Singapore. It’s not a spot he was necessarily looking for, but he appreciates that the UFC expects a lot from him.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect it, but seeing my name on the pay-per-view is pretty awesome,” Maddalena said. “For me, it doesn’t change much. I have a lot of friends coming to Singapore so I’m glad they don’t have to get up too early to watch the fight, but other than that it’s business as usual for me. Go ahead and put on a show.

Many fighters wait years to earn a spot on the pay-per-view, but Maddelena always expected that to happen, especially with the way he tends to put on memorable performances.

“There was no doubt in my mind that I would get to this place,” he said. “Now it’s here. To be honest, it’s not very surprising for me to be here. Ultimately, the fight is the most important thing, and if you put me on the first fight or the last fight on the map, I’ll try to play the exact same way every time. It’s something I expected to happen sooner or later, and it’s here now.

Stylistically, Maddalena might find it harder to score a killer finish considering Emeev comes from a wrestling background and hasn’t finished a fight since 2016.

“I’m ready for whatever he brings,” Maddalena said. “I definitely think at some point in the fight he’s going to look to fight, but I’m ready. I’m ready to fight all of these people and beat all of them.

“I want to fight all styles. Fighting a Russian sambo champion is pretty cool, and it’s something I’ll remember all my life. I think you can be protected in the game and fight people who are going to be good for your style, but I want to fight everyone. I’m going to fight a wrestler at some point, so might as well fight a wrestler early.