Merab Dvalishvili Says He Can’t Fight Cejudo In August, Open To Fighting For Vacant Title If Sterling Leaves

"The Machine" has no problem taking on anybody that's put in front of him.

Merab Dvalishvili
Merab Dvalishvili - Image Credit @merab.dvalishvili Instagram
  • Merab Dvalishvili commented on a possible showdown with Henry Cejudo and when can it happen
  • “The Machine” thinks he deserves to fight for the vacant title if Aljamain Sterling leaves

With Aljamain Sterling likely to move up to featherweight, his teammate and No. 1 bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili is already being asked about what could be the best scenario for him should the champ leaves. But before that, Dvalishvili said he would first work on his recovery and possibly face Henry Cejudo, who previously called him out.

Henry’s time will come

Speaking to The Schmo, Dvalishvili admitted that he wouldn’t be able to fight Cejudo or anybody in August as he would need more time to heal up.

“No, I won’t be able to punch for August. I mean I won’t be able to fight because I need the training and I need to get ready I don’t think I’ll be ready for August but maybe we see it other time… I’m gonna start running soon, I’m gonna start swimming… I’ll be ready man,” Dvalishvili said.

Following his title fight defeat to Sterling, Cejudo, who hasn’t fought in three years prior to that, jumped straight to No. 3 in the bantamweight rankings. For Dvalishvili, “Triple C” deserved it because his resume is still way better than most 135-pounders.

“I think yes [Cejudo should be No. 3],” Dvalishvili pointed out. “He’s former champion, two-division champion, the Olympic champion and I was impressed how good he did against Aljo, he’s still dangerous, he’s still good fighter. I give him lots of respect. I think yeah I mean even he’s number three, even he already lost title, I think he still deserved [it] than some other fighters.”

The rightful title contender

Dvalishvili also believes he has proven everybody that he deserves a title shot more than any top contender in his division. And if Sterling decides to move up, “The Machine” said it’s only right that he gets to be the other half of the vacant bantamweight title fight.

“It’s very possible [that I compete for the vacant title if Aljo leaves],” Dvalishvili assessed. “Like he said if he wants to move up, it’s up to him. And if he move up and yeah I guess I can fight for the belt and whoever will be next contender, I will fight with them because I am number one, I have nine-fight win streak and I don’t think nobody deserved better than me to fight [for the title]… if Henry wants to fight me for title or whoever will be next contender, I would love to. I’m always ready for any fight and when I’m healthy, I’m ready.”

Dvalishvili has been undefeated in nine consecutive fights. His last two victories were against former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former interim bantamweight champ Petr Yan.

Sterling, meanwhile, is already booked for a title fight against Sean O’Malley at UFC 292. As for Cejudo, his next fight is still up in the air but he is in a great position now that he has broken into the division’s Top 5.

Published on May 22, 2023 at 1:34 pm
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