Merab Dvalishvili is feeling like the forgotten man of the UFC bantamweight division, and he wants that to change soon.
But what about “The Machine?” The ‘no one wants to fight me’ narrative gets thrown around a lot these days, but in Dvalishvili’s case, it’s hard to argue against it.
In his last appearance, the Georgian extended his win streak to seven and rose to #6 in the rankings with a memorable comeback TKO victory over the now-retired Marlon Moraes at UFC 266.
But despite his form and high position on the bantamweight ladder, Dvalishvili’s next step is still undecided nine months later.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the Tbilisi native addressed his struggle to find an opponent, claiming that he’s down to fight whoever is willing.
“I was talking to my coach yesterday, and he say exactly same thing, ‘No one mentions your name!’ No fighter say my name, even though I’m ranked six, on seven-fight winning streak. No one calls my name. Nobody talk about me, I don’t know,” said Dvalishvili.
“I’m here guys, please, I want to fight. I don’t care, whoever, I’m just — I’m getting old! I want to fight. It’s almost one year, I need — also, I lost the money I made from my last fight, so now I wanna make money! It’s crazy.”
While the failure to find a fight in recent weeks has perhaps been down to the rest of the roster, Dvalishvili’s hopes for a quick turnaround were dashed in January when he suffered an injury.
Then, when he was back to full fitness, teammate Aljamain Sterling was deep into his training camp ahead of his rematch with Petr Yan at UFC 273 in April, which the Georgian directed his full attention to.
But now, with Sterling emerging victorious over the Russian, Dvalishvili has turned his focus back to his own mission, one that he hopes continues this summer, potentially at an event close home…
Dvalishvili Open To Any & Everyone For UFC Long Island
The UFC is set to return to Long Island on July 16 for an event headlined by elite featherweights Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez. Dvalishvili, who resides in the New York region, is hoping to secure his place on what will be a home card for the longtime US resident.
“They know I’m ready for anybody, I don’t care who will be my next opponent… I think I deserve somebody from top 10, but I really don’t care,” said Dvalishvili. “I would love to (fight at UFC Long Island), especially because I’ve never fought in New York. That would be great. In Brooklyn, we have a big Georgian community. They would love to see me fight.
“I would love to fight here. I would love to fight in Long Island. I feel like this is my second home. I’ve lived here 10 years, and my team is here, everybody. I would love to fight here,” concluded Dvalishvili.
With New Yorkers like Sterling, Al Iaquinta, Chris Weidman, and Matt Frevola all absent from the card, UFC Long Island is in desperate need of some locals.
Dana, Merab is your guy!
Who would you like to see Merab Dvalishvili face next?