Merab Dvalishvili explains why UFC title shot dilemma ‘is a good problem to have’
LAS VEGAS – Merab Dvalishvili wants a title shot, but will decline if offered.
It’s an unusual situation, one that is often considered but not experienced by UFC competitors. His best friend and main training partner Aljamain Sterling seems to be in the same category – and he seems to be a champion.
With his performance Saturday at UFC Fight Night 221, Dvalishvili (16-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) might have otherwise earned a title shot with a dominant performance, choking out former titleholder Petr Yan ( 16-5 (MMA, 8-4) (UFC).
However, Dvalishvili, who has shown that positivity is a pillar of his character, is not fazed by the circumstances that have forced him to give up an opportunity that many other fighters would throw away in a heartbeat. .
“I’ll fight anybody (else),” Dvalishvili told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a post-fight press conference. “I want to be busy, and I’ll fight anybody whatever. I want to be busy. Whoever. Whoever the UFC chooses for me to fight, I will fight. I have no problem. This is a good problem: two best friend, two teammates. My best friend is a champion, and I’m one of the top (competitors). It’s a good problem to have. We’re cleaning up the division.”
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The general plan among the LAW MMA team is for Sterling to defend his title May 6 against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 in Newark, N.J. After that, a title defense against Sean O’Malley may be in the cards .
While it has been suggested that Sterling could make a featherweight effort to reach new heights in the sport and clear the way for him at bantamweight, Dvalishvili said he could drop down to flyweight if he wanted to, although it doesn’t seem like it.
“It would be a tough cut, but it’s possible,” Dvalishvili said. “Right now, I’m comfortable at 135. I don’t want to make any changes right now. It’s possible because I didn’t cut only 20 pounds. I do old style. I don’t use a hot tub. I don’t use water loads. I just do my own crazy thing and I always do weight . I don’t think so right now. I can do 125 but I don’t see why I should do that right now.”
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Dvalishvili may have to fight one more time before Sterling leaves and he seems at peace with that. March 25 at UFC on ESPN 43 in San Antonio, two main contenders, Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen square off. Dvalishvili congratulates the winner.
“Absolutely. I would like to fight with those who win,” said Dvalishvili. “I would love to. Actually, Aljo was saying that he wants to go see this fight and I would like to go too. We will see. If they want to give me that fight, I’ll take it. Look, someone asked me before. I think that the winner of this, if they had to fight me, we will see what the UFC chooses. I’m willing to fight anyone. No problem.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 221.
Story first appeared on MMA Junkie