Merab Next! UFC Champ O’Malley Says He Will Fight Dvalishvili

Sean O'Malley, UFC
Sean O'Malley, UFC 2024 Season Press Conference Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Some common sense has returned to the UFC’s bantamweight division, as Sean O’Malley has announced that he will fight Merab Dvalishvili next.

Many an eyebrow was raised when the bantamweight champ chose to face off with Marlon “Chito” Veta in his first title defense, at UFC 299 earlier this month. The event turned out to be a massive draw at the box office, while Spanish-language media flocked to the Kaseya Center in droves.

O’Malley won a unanimous decision following a one-sided beatdown, a rematch of the pair’s 2020 meeting.

A large contingent of fans, however, saw Dvalishvili (17-4) as the more deserving fighter, given he has been sitting on a ten-fight win streak. That streak includes victories over ex-champs Henry Cejudo, Petr Yan, and Jose Aldo.

After his win over Vera, O’Malley had downplayed the match-up with Georgia’s Merab, who recently became a U.S. citizen.

On his latest podcast episode, however, Sean O’Malley (18-1, 1NC) confirmed that it will in fact be Merab next.

“Merab’s next. Merab is f*ckin next. Your wish is granted,” announced O’Malley, adding “A lot of people said I’m ducking him. I just really am not ducking that little dude. I like the fight for me. There’s multiple ways to win. I’m excited about the fight now, finally. I was never ducking him, I was just never excited to fight him. He’s just such a, I don’t know— now, is it the right time?”

“Like the ‘Chito’ rematch, the time will come where it’s the right time to fight certain people. Merab’s next, and be careful what you wish for, buddy. Careful what you wish for.”

The UFC bantamweight champ did not provide any details on when the showdown with Merab Dvalishvili had occur. However, given he fought just a few weeks ago, late summer or early fall seems likely.