UFC 299: Merab Dvalishvili Shares Theory On Why He Isn’t Challenging Sean O’Malley In March

Dvalishvili thinks he knows why he isn't fighting O'Malley at UFC 299.

Merab Dvalishvili Sean O Malley
(via Zuffa LLC)

Merab Dvalishvili won’t be challenging Sean O’Malley for UFC gold in March, and he believes he knows why.

O’Malley is the current UFC bantamweight champion after scoring a second-round TKO finish over Merab’s close friend and training partner Aljamain Sterling back in August. O’Malley will be defending his UFC bantamweight gold against Marlon Vera at UFC 299 on March 9, 2024. While many agree this fight was booked due to being a potentially lucrative grudge match, the general consensus is that “Chito” was not the most deserving choice.

Merab Dvalishvili On Why He Was Skipped Over For UFC Title Shot

During an interview with MMAJunkie‘s Nolan King, Merab Dvalishvili said that he expects to fight Henry Cejudo next and if the bout does take place and he wins, then he’ll target a bantamweight title fight.

“I want to be busy, but I don’t want to fight backwards,” Dvalishvili said. “If I win this, I should fight [for the] title. It’s been crazy because I win nine fights straight, I beat two featherweight champions and I still don’t get a title shot.”

Dvalishvili then went on to express his belief that the UFC is protecting O’Malley because he’s their cash cow at 135 pounds.

“It’s like timing, right? Now, O’Malley is champion and, of course, in my opinion they want to keep him longer, longest possible to champion,” Dvalishvili said. “I think I’m a bad stylistic match for him. In my opinion, I can beat him because the style makes fight, and then I think that’s what they’re thinking too because if they think I’m easy I’m sure they would give myself to him. I think they want to keep him longest because it’s no secret O’Malley makes money. If I beat O’Malley then who’s gonna sell pay-per-views [laughs].”

Here is MMAJunkie’s full interview with Nolan King:

Published on November 10, 2023 at 11:09 am
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