UFC Would Not Give Merab Dvalishvili Top Contenders If He Refused to Face Aljamain Sterling

Merab Dvalishvili refuses to face his friend Aljamain Sterling and said the UFC would not give him top contenders because of it.

Merab Dvalishvili
Credit Merab Dvalishvili on Instagram

There seems to be a new contender in the bantamweight division. Merab Dvalishvili has been quickly rising up the bantamweight rankings over the last few years and now could find himself in line for a title shot after his unanimous decision victory over Petr Yan this past weekend. The win was the ninth in a row for Dvalishvili but despite the fact that he has taken out two former champions in his last two fights he does not want a title shot. 

Right now the man who is holding the UFC bantamweight title is Aljamain Sterling. Sterling and Dvalishvili are good friends and training partners. Dvalishvili does not want to go up against his friend and instead is completely fine with waiting and acting as a “gatekeeper” in the division.

Merab Dvalishvili knows his time will come for a title shot but won’t fight Aljamain Sterling

Sterling will be up against former champion Henry Cejudo later this year. If he is victorious many believe that he could move up to featherweight to make room for his friend Dvalishvili. If he were to lose, perhaps a rematch would be set or maybe that would be the perfect opening for Dvalishvili. Either way, the two pals will not be facing off for the UFC gold. 

“I understand business and everything but Aljamain Sterling is my friend and my brother. And it’s all good, man,” Dvalishvili said on The MMA Hour. ” It’s all good. So yeah, also he has a fight. Now he’s fighting Henry Cejudo. I’m gonna be back to the gym in a week. And I’m gonna help him to prepare for Henry Cejudo. And I think after that he will beat up O’Malley, and he said he’s planning to move up and if he wants to do it, and I will fight for the title.”

UFC president Dana White has expressed that he feels like this is a bad decision for Dvalishvili. Despite the disagreement with the boss, Dvalishvili is sticking to his guns and will continue to take out whoever else is offered up. The fact that Dvalishvili will not face the current champion puts him in a difficult position with the UFC matchmaker. They originally did not want him facing top guys if he would not accept a title shot with a win. He spoke about an encounter with White after his last win over Jose Aldo. 

“I stay true to my heart. And we met the night after and he (White) was talking to my coach, I should not mention that and after that, the matchmaker, Sean Selby said he cannot give me Sean O’Malley, he cannot give me Chito Vera, he cannot give me Cory Sandhagen, or even Petr Yan because if I beat them and then I’m not fighting my friend for the title and I understand business and I was so sad that it was no fight for me.”

Dvalishvili explained that Sterling’s plan is to win against Cejudo, then face Sean O’Malley, and then move to featherweight. That is when Dvalishvili will take his place as a bantamweight title contender. 

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