After coming up short against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288, Henry Cejudo is setting his sights on top-ranked bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili.
‘Triple C’ returned for the first time in three years for a bantamweight title fight with reigning champion Aljamain Sterling in Saturday’s UFC 288 main event. After a very competitive 25 minutes, judges scored the bout in favor of Sterling by way of a split decision. A dejected Cejudo told Joe Rogan inside the Octagon that he was “confused” and had to take a long hard look as to whether or not he would continue to compete.
Less than 48 hours later, it appears that Cejudo has already made his decision. Taking to social media, ‘Triple C’ laid down a challenge to Georgian fighter Merab Dvalishvili.
“This sh*t is far from over! @danawhite I want @merab.dvalishvili head on a plate! #ufcboston,” Cejudo wrote.
It didn’t take long for the No. 1 ranked bantamweight to respond and accept Cejudo’s challenge.
“Let’s Go! I will take another of @funkmasterMMA‘s leftovers .. for now!”
Let’s Go! I will take another of @funkmasterMMA ‘s leftovers .. for now! https://t.co/I7jVSbcaxp
— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) May 8, 2023
Henry Cejudo Says Merab Dvalishvili Fight Would Be ‘Easy Money’
Merab Dvalishvili is the rightful top contender to the 135-pound crown, but his close friendship with current champion Aljamain Sterling has kept ‘The Machine’ from accepting a title opportunity. Instead, Dvalishvili has stayed content picking off the division’s biggest names including Jose Also and Petr Yan in back-to-back bouts. Dvalishvili is currently riding a seven-fight win streak. In his last appearance, ‘The Machine’ lived up to his nickname by attempting a record-breaking 49 takedowns in a UFC Fight Night headliner against Yan.
Ahead of his contest with Aljamain Sterling, Henry Cejudo suggested that Merab Dvalishvili would be an easier matchup, claiming his style of spamming takedowns would be exploitable.
“This guy (Dvalishvili), you know he’s gonna press, you know he’s gonna do all this to shoot,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “This is why a guy like Merab would be easy money. I’d hurt that dude. I’d let him in on my legs, make him carry my weight, and then take him down.”
The proposed event for their potential clash is UFC 292, scheduled to emanate from TD Garden in Boston on August 19. No official announcements regarding the card have been made, but the event is favored to host a bantamweight title showdown between Aljamain Sterling and No. 2 ranked contender Sean O’Malley. Cejudo vs. Dvalishvili could land in the co-main event slot giving fans in Beantown two high-profile bantamweight bouts to feast on.