Sean O’Malley Changes Tune, Now Interested In Merab Dvalishvili After UFC 299

Following Merab Dvalishvili’s victory over Henry Cejudo this past weekend at UFC 298, the victor called for a fight with the current bantamweight champion, but Sean O’Malley had other thoughts initially.

O’Malley is currently set to defend his title versus Marlon “Chito” Vera next month at UFC 299, and the public speculation is that he would defend against Dvalishvili if he remains champion.

However, it seems “Sugar” had his sights set on the newly crowned featherweight champion in Ilia Topuria at first, but has since changed his mind due to the public’s response.

“Let me start with this: initially I was calling for Ilia,” O’Malley said in a video posted to his YouTube Channel. “I wanted the Ilia fight. I wanted that fight. It excites me, but I also thought the fans would get excited about it. But I got a lot of pushback saying, ‘You’re ducking Merab! Merab is next!’ So Merab’s next. Let’s do Merab.”

Following UFC 299, if O’Malley gets past Vera, the right thing to do for the division is to give Dvalishvili the next shot, and it seems O’Malley has in part realized that. With that said, the idea of a future matchup between him and Topuria would no doubt generate serious interest.

“The Ilia fight can happen some day,” O’Malley said. “He keeps doing his thing, I keep doing my thing, that’s a big fight some day. I just want to fight for the people. I want to make the biggest fights possible. And I’ll give credit to Merab, Merab’s f****** improved, not just fighting, but on social. He’s doing a really good job building himself up, being himself, being a goofy, ugly ass, and he’s doing a good job. So that’s fight’s next.

“Merab, I hope you’re at weigh-ins as the backup fighter in case Chito doesn’t show, like he didn’t show up to Anaheim because he’s scared. I’m taking Chito out, I’m taking Merab out, if Ilia’s still champ, I’ll take him out too.”

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