Merab Dvalishvili Expects UFC Title Shot, Discusses Henry Cejudo’s Future

Merab Dvalishvili is confident that the UFC will give him a title shot after his win over Henry Cejudo, and has offered to be a backup for the upcoming title fight between Sean O’Malley and Marlon “Chito” Vera, even though no contracts have been signed yet.

Merab Dvalishvili is banking on a UFC title shot. He’s got no written guarantee, but he’s hopeful after his victory over Henry Cejudo.

His nine-fight winning streak before UFC 298 should’ve landed him a title shot. But, he ended up facing ex-two-division champ Henry Cejudo instead. He aced that challenge, and UFC CEO Dana White confirmed Dvalishvili’s next in line for the bantamweight title fight winner. That’s gonna be either Sean O’Malley or Marlon “Chito” Vera.

Sure, nothing’s set in stone until contracts are signed. But Dvalishvili trusts the UFC will do right by him. He just scored his 10th straight win with a unanimous decision over Cejudo.

Dvalishvili’s already got his sights on UFC 299. That’s where O’Malley’s defending his title against Vera.

The 33-year-old Georgian fighter’s even offered to step in if someone gets injured. Even though the event’s less than three weeks away.

“I am crazy. I will take it,” Dvalishvili said about the backup role. “They don’t offer [it to me], but at the press conference, somebody asked Dana and he said, ‘We’ll see.’ Nobody offered me yet but I would love to be the backup fighter.”

He’s confident he can make weight in five days. “I’m good. No problem. I can just live my normal life and I will start weight cutting five days before and I’ll be ready.”

Dvalishvili doesn’t really care who wins the title in Miami. But he’d prefer to fight Sean. “Of course [I want to fight] Sean,” Dvalishvili said. “He’s the champion now. He’s very popular on TikTok. I want to fight him.”

He bumped into O’Malley backstage. But he didn’t try to stir up drama to sell a future fight. “I saw him, and people are like, ‘Go talk to him, chase him!’ I’m like, why?” Dvalishvili said. “I’m going to fight the champion next, whoever it will be. I never chase. I don’t like drama.”

Dvalishvili had nothing but respect for Cejudo. They even shared a few words after their fight. Cejudo left him with a message of support after his win. “He told me, ‘Go get the title,’” Dvalishvili said. “[He said,] ‘You’ve got this and you can win this.’”

Before UFC 298, Cejudo said his fight with Dvalishvili was do-or-die. He’d either win and fight for UFC gold again, or lose and retire.

Cejudo didn’t get to address his future after the fight. White later said that the 2008 Olympic champ had already retired from the UFC. So, the spotlight was on Dvalishvili that night.

Dvalishvili wasn’t surprised that the UFC didn’t give him any mic time. But he hopes that Cejudo reconsiders his future in the sport. “Usually, the fights like this unless it’s the main event, they don’t give you microphones, especially after a loss. I understand,” Dvalishvili said. “No [he shouldn’t retire], he’s a good fighter. I will never tell somebody to retire because we love this sport.”


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