Dana White suggests Merab Dvalishvili should rethink decision not to fight teammate Aljamain Sterling
UFC president Dana White suggested that Merab Dvalishvili rethink his decision not to fight his teammate, UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.
Dvalishvili defeated former champ Petr Yan in the main event of UFC Las Vegas with three 50-45 scorecards. It was Dvalishvili’s ninth straight win in the Octagon as he improved to 9-2 overall in the promotion. And beating someone of Yan’s pedigree puts Dvalishvili in the spot to fight for the bantamweight title.
The problem is, his best friend and longtime teammate Sterling holds the belt, and Dvalishvili has said in the past that he won’t fight Sterling as long as he’s champion. That puts him in a strange position, essentially needing Sterling to either move up in weight or lose his belt in order to fight for the title. And if you ask White, that’s not the best decision for his career.
Speaking to the media at the Power Slap 1 Finale post-fight press conference, White suggested that Dvalishvili would be making a mistake if he doesn’t put aside his friendship for the title.
“I don’t remember who the hell I was talking to the other day about this, and I was like, ‘Yeah, we don’t have to deal with that bullsh*t anymore.’ You know, back in the early days, the camps were so small, you didn’t have a lot of different options. So, we had a lot of these guys saying, ‘Oh, he’s my friend, he’s my friend.’ “You can still be friends and want what your friend has, you know what I mean? It would be a really bad idea for Merab to go down that path,” White said (via MMAjunkie.com).
“Does Merab want a shot at the title or would Merab rather have people under him jump over him, and him have to take on all these different tough guys, when he’s not getting a title shot when he’s next in line for it? That’s a personal decision that he needs to make. If that’s what he wants to do, I can tell you how that story ends, and it’s not a good ending to that story. He’s a big boy, he can figure that out on his own.”
Sterling takes on Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 in May for the belt, and the result of that matchup could dictate the future of Dvalishvili getting a potential bantamweight title shot — or not.
Do you think Merab Dvalishvili should fight Aljamain Sterling?
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