Las Vegas, NV — Georgian bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili lived up to his nickname, “The Machine,” at UFC 252. His constant pressure, frankly machine-like, was too much for John Dodson to handle. Resulting in a unanimous decision win for Serra-Longo’s Dvalishvili.
“Yes, 100%,” Dvalishvili said following the fight, asked if it was the biggest win of his career. “That was my fifth [straight] win in the UFC. John Dodson is a big name. He was a two-time title challenger. Of course, that was [the biggest] win in my career.”
Here’s something to consider: the Merab Dvalishvili we’ve seen thus far, winner of those aforementioned five straight fights, has been a part-time fighter.
“I was doing construction full time, once I moved to the USA from Georgia. I needed a job, I started working construction.” He continued that once he settled in at Serra-Longo and made it to the UFC. “I was training one time, night time, after work in my gym.”
No more. Following his win on Saturday, Dvalishvili is leaving his day job behind him. “Now, I’ll be a full-time UFC fighter. I’ll be training two times a day,” he said.
Just imagine how much better he could be.
With Dodson ranked 12th in the UFC bantamweight division, Dvalishvili could be looking at coming close to the top ten in the weight class when the rankings are updated this week. “I’m not worried about top ten. But even, I was top fifteen, that was a big thing for me,” Dvalishvili admitted. “Now, I made a big statement, and I will be top fifteen for a long, long time. So my next opponent will be top fifteen, guarantee, or top ten. Or somebody big, with a good name. This is already big for me. I’m not looking for a rank, like specific numbers. But I’m happy, because my next opponent will be serious.”
Whether or not he’s looking at numbers, he’s getting closer to a title shot. But Dvalishvili does not want to step on the toes of friend and teammate Aljamain Sterling it seems.
“I’m not focused on the title yet, because I know Aljamain Sterling will become champion, [in his] next fight. He will be a longtime champion,” Dvalishvili stated. “So I’m not thinking about the title for a long time.”
“A hundred years,” he joked.
Watch the full UFC 252 post-fight press scrum with Merab Dvalishvili above.