Georgia’s “Machine” has been on a historic run within the 135-pound ranks, setting the record for the longest winning streak in the division at nine alongside his best friend and teammate Aljamain Sterling. Unfortunately for Dvalishvili (16-4), he may have fought for UFC gold by now had his fellow elite-level bantamweight not been holding the title until just two weekends ago when he lost it to Sean O’Malley at UFC 292.
The pair of combatants have been adamant every step of the way that they’ll never fight each other under any circumstances. Dvalishvili, 32, has gone as far as to say he’d need “unrealistic” money to accept the fight, otherwise, don’t even bother offering it. Now that Sterling is no longer the champion, Dvalishvili wants his long-awaited title shot but at the same time feels “Funk Master” deserves an immediate rematch. The latter of which doesn’t sit well with the UFC President.
"Everybody in this room and everybody that watches this video knows how I feel about this s***," White said at last night's Contender Series post-fight press conference. "Yeah, I hate it and if that's — why did you even get into this sport if that's your mentality in the way that you think? 'I don't even want the title, I don't want the championship. We're friends, we're this, we're that.'
"This is not — you could be friends with everybody in this business. There's a lot of nice people in this business. A lot of good people. This is not about friendship. It's about finding out who the best in the world is. And if you don't want to find out who the best in the world is this is not the place for you. You should be somewhere else. There's plenty of places to fight where they don't give a s*** what you do. Doesn't work here."
Perhaps the most notable case in UFC history of best friends not wanting to fight each other while still being their division's best came in the form of Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier at heavyweight. The two American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) staples never got too close to seriously crossing paths as Cormier dropped down to light heavyweight sooner rather than later after joining the promotion in 2013.
As for the bantamweights, Dvalishvili’s chances of being O’Malley’s first title challenger would presumably be pretty good if he weren’t recovering from a recent hand surgery. Sterling has already openly said he’ll take off the rest of the year, eliminating him from the choices O’Malley has in one more fight this year.
Ultimately, “Sugar's” star power is at an all-time high after his second-round TKO win. In a rare case, the UFC even shared the finish on their YouTube channel immediately after it happened. White clarified that the decision to upload the footage wasn’t the UFC’s but ESPN’s, who bought the rights to the pay-per-view. Therefore, possibly just highlighting what they believe they have in the Helena, Montana native.
“They wanted to put that out that night and they wanted to promote that fight so they did,” White said of ESPN putting out the O’Malley vs. Sterling finish.
“I think that they obviously saw the star potential in O’Malley that night and I think that opening it up to everyone was like an investment in O’Malley. I don’t know if that’s the truth, you’d have to ask them that question but that’s why I think they did it.”
Next. Aljamain Sterling addresses his future, calls for Merab Dvalishvili to get next title shot against Sean O’Malley
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The guy just can’t help it.
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