Take a look how Merab Dvalishvili awkwardly confronts Sean O’Malley after UFC 299 title defense

Merab Dvalishvili wants his shot at Sean O’Malley.

The reign of O’Malley as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight champion continued after a first successful title defense via unanimous decision (watch highlights) against Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC 299 last night (March 9, 2024). Now, “Sugar” has a pretty comfortable idea of who his next title challenger will be.

Although Dvalishvili is the clear top contender, riding a 10-fight winning streak, O’Malley is most interested in challenging for Featherweight gold against that division’s champion, Ilia Topuria. O’Malley called for “El Matador” in his post-fight speech inside the Octagon after his Vera win. Afterward, Dvalishvili managed to track down the champion backstage to remind him who is waiting for him. The video can be seen in the embedded player above.

“Congratulations, but you should mention my name,” Dvalishvili said.

“Oh, s—t. I didn’t know who that was,” O’Malley responded with a laugh.

Since he became champion in August 2023, O’Malley hasn’t seemed too interested in the prospect of a Dvalishvili match up. That changed after “The Machine’s” impressive victory over former two-division champion, Henry Cejudo, at UFC 298 last month (Feb. 17, 2024). Whether it’s Topuria or Dvalishvili next, O’Malley isn’t complaining about his position as the 135-pound kingpin.

“It’s nice having options,” O’Malley said at the UFC 299 post-fight press conference. “It’s hard to make a decision right after the fight. We’ll see how it plays out. Talk to the UFC. Talk to [UFC CBO] Hunter [Cambpell], talk to [UFC CEO] Dana [White], and we’ll see what happens. That [Dvalishvili] fight very well could happen next.

“Moving up to ‘45, that’s champ vs. champ [with Topuria] is automatically huge,” he continued. “[He] just knocked out Alexander Volkanovski, that’s massive. It’s just an exciting fight. I’m here for massive fights and that’s what I want to be a part of. If that’s it, sweet. If Merab’s it, sweet. I like having options.”

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