Aljamain Sterling is not going to fight Merab Dvalishvili despite what Dana White says.
UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has his hands full with the top contenders in the division. Sterling is being called out by several fighters at the top of the division however he does not have to worry about the number one contender. Following his win over Petr Yan, Merab Dvalishvili became the number-one ranked fighter in the division. Sterling and Dvalishvili are very good friends, they have been training partners for many years and although he is number one on the rankings they will not fight each other.
This has been brought up quite a bit while the two were coming up. Dvalishvili is probably the most deserving fighter in the division to get the next title shot but he has mentioned time and again that he will not fight his friend. Now Sterling is seconding the sentiment and saying that their friendship is worth more than he would be getting paid for the fight. He spoke about this to Robbie Fox.
“I know for him (Dana White), he’s going to try to make the matchups that the fans want to see, I know the fans would love to see that. I’m like, dude, we do more than enough in the room with each other already, you know. Merab’s a great dude, he would take his shirt off for anybody, he doesn’t even have to know you, he’s just that type of guy. And to have that relationship with him and throw it away for 500k? You know what I mean?” he said. “Now, if we’re talking like NFL money, money that can actually, these guys make 50 million for like, one or two years.”
Sterling has plans to leave the bantamweight division behind in the good hands of his friend
“I plan on eventually going up to 45,” he said. “I want to just take out the trash and I know triple turd is saying whatever he is saying about being able to fight us both and one night, he thinks that Merab’s style is suitable for him, that he would hurt him bad… [He thinks] this is a great stylistic matchup for him and he’s the better striker. You can’t measure the dog and people and that’s what people are forgetting. And I guarantee you both of us will have our way with that guy.”
If Sterling were to get past Cejudo and move on to O’Malley, Dvalishvili could face one of the other contenders, possibly Cejudo. If Cejudo wins and no rematch is set then perhaps Dvalishvili will get his chance at the former two-division champion right then and there. However only time will tell.