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Sean O’Malley Not Interested In Defending Vs. Merab Dvalishvili

Sean O'Malley UFC 288 post-event interview
New bantamweight No. 1 contender Sean O"Malley talks to the media following a face-to-face confrontation with reigning champ Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288.

Sean O’Malley, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion, does not view Merab Dvalishvili as a contender for the title. During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, O’Malley explained why he already knocked out Dvalishvili.

Sean O’Malley Looking Well Past Merab Dvalishvili

In the eyes of Sean O’Malley, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion already finished top contender Merab Dvalishvili without even having to face him inside the Octagon.

O’Malley, in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, explained that by finishing Aljamain Sterling for the title last month, he more or less bested Dvalishvili.

“I knocked out Merab on August 19, the same night I knocked out (Sterling) ” O’Malley said (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “They’re the same. They hold hands. They’re the same person. I knocked them both out August 19, so we’ll see what happens.”

At the same time, though, O’Malley admitted he has no issue repeating the finish.

“At the end of the day, I’ll out there and knock out whoever they put in front of me,” he said.

Sean O’Malley First Title Defense Could Be Rematch

While some have called for Sterling to get an immediate rematch, it would appear O’Malley is more interested in a second fight with another top contender.

Back in 2020, Marlon Vera stopped O’Malley in the first round, scoring a surprising win of his own. He has continued to work his way up the ladder since, rebounding with a recent decision over Pedro Munhoz the same night of the title fight.

The similarities between Sterling and Dvalishvili are more than just styles. The two are teammates who have no real interest in squaring off with one another. They have already irked UFC president Dana White with that reveal.

“I called out the Chito fight before the fight even happened,” O’Malley said. “Before me vs. Aljo, before Pedro vs. Chito, I said, ‘Hey, Chito goes out there and wins, I go out there and win, I’m fighting Chito for my first title defense,’ and that’s what happened. That’s what’s going to happen next in my eyes, that’s what I want.

“I’m sure the UFC is down with that. They’re in the fight business. Me vs. Chito is the biggest fight in the bantamweight division to make. There’s not even one that’s really close. Me vs. anyone is going to be a big fight because I’m a pretty big name.”

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