Merab Dvalishvili willing to wait a “year or more” for a title shot against Sean O’Malley: “I’m going to fight for the title next”

By Cole Shelton - August 25, 2023

Merab Dvalishvili says he won’t fight again unless it’s for the title.

Merab Dvalishvili

Dvalishvil is currently the second-ranked bantamweight and believes he has earned a title shot. However, at UFC 292, his close friend and teammate, Aljamain Sterling lost his title by second-round TKO to Sean O’Malley. Since then, Sterling has been campaigning for an immediate rematch, which Dvalishvili believes should happen.

If Sterling does get the next title shot, Merab Dvalishvili says he will wait for his turn as he expects ‘Funkmaster’ to win the belt and then move up to featherweight. Although that means Dvalishvili may not get his title shot for over a year, he says he is fine waiting.

“After Aljamain Sterling, I am the No. 1 contender. We all know that,” Dvalishvili told MMA Junkie. “I have a nine-fight winning streak and I beat two former champions back to back, I fought everybody who they put in front of me. … I think the right way is that Aljo comes back, beat O’Malley, get his belt back, and I think after that he may go up a weight class. If he vacates the belt and takes a vacation or something, I will fight for the belt with whoever will be next.

“Now, I don’t want to rush. I just don’t want any stupid fight, you know, because the fight doesn’t make sense. I don’t want to fight somebody that has a loss. What does this fight get me? I want to fight the top guys, I don’t want to test, I’m tested already,” Merab Dvalishvili said. “I proved it. My last opponents I dominated. … I’m the next guy after Aljo. So a good way would be to give Aljo a rematch and after that, I’m just going to wait for my title fight, and we’ll figure it out after. But I’m just going to fight for the title next – even if I have to wait a year or more.”

Although Dvalishvili says he will wait for a title shot, Dana White has made it clear in the past that he doesn’t like fighters waiting for their shot. With that, perhaps White and the UFC force Dvalishvili to take another fight.

Merab Dvalishvili is currently 16-4 as a pro and coming off a dominant decision win over Petr Yan. Dvalishvili is 9-2 in the UFC and on a nine-fight win streak.


Merab Dvalishvili Sean O'Malley UFC