A couple years ago, UFC bantamweight sensation Sean O’Malley turned heads by hopping into a local Grappling Industries tournament, where he lost by heel hook to a very game Robert Degle.
More recently, O’Malley opened up on the experience in a Grappling Industries video interview, where he explains his motivation behind jumping into a local jiu-jitsu tournament.
“It’s definitely different than walking into an Octagon knowing there’s a million people on pay-per-view watching, there’s seventeen thousand people in the crowd,” said O’Malley. “So it’s a different feeling, but it was really fun; I enjoyed it.”
“I think it’s important for athletes that are trying to compete, for sure, to do it,” he adds. “But even people that aren’t trying to be world champs [should] put themselves out there, get out of their comfort zone, feel those nerves you get to compete.”
According to O’Malley, the UFC star firmly believes that in some ways, tournament experience is just as beneficial for the “average Joe” as it is for a professional athlete, simply because learning to deal with the nerves is a useful skill for anyone.
“You’re not going to feel [those nerves] anywhere else, so you might as well go out and experience them,” advises O’Malley.