Sean O’Malley already trying to duck fight with Merab Dvalishvili, would rather face new UFC champ Ilia Topuria

Sean O'Malley talks Merab Dvalishvili fight

According to Dana White, Merab Dvalishvili is the next man in line for a bantamweight title opportunity. Sean O’Malley doesn’t necessarily agree.

On Saturday night, ‘The Machine’ scored an impressive unanimous decision victory over No. 3 ranked contender Henry Cejudo. It was Dvalishvili’s 10th-straight win inside the Octagon and — according to the UFC CEO — that puts him in pole position to fight the winner of next month’s bantamweight championship clash between reigning titleholder Sean O’Malley and Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera at UFC 299.

But it sounds as though O’Malley is already trying to weasel his way out of a potential meeting with ‘The Machine.’

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Speaking with Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, ‘Sugar’ appeared to be far more interested in a scrap with newly crowned featherweight king, Ilia Topuria.

“There’s Merab, there’s Cory [Sandhagen], and there’s Ilia [Topuria],” O’Malley said. “Those three are all potentially next, but I’m dialed in and laser-focused on Chito. Whatever happens after that, I’m very confident. Merab’s very beatable. Henry [Cejudo] about knocked him out. Marlon Moraes about knocked him out. Merab’s got a crazy-good gas tank. A lot of wrestling. He’s a dangerous opponent, but when I think of a scary opponent, that’s Ilia.

“He could put your f*cking lights out and change your life. That’s a scary opponent Merab’s a dangerous opponent. He’s got good cardio. He could eventually put your lights out after you gas out, but he couldn’t finish Henry. We’ll see. I like big fights. When you’re grinding through these camps… I’m not saying Merab wouldn’t be up there, but what it comes down to is what do the people really truly want to see. If they want to see Merab, that’s what’s next, but I hate even talking about that. I got Chito next.”

Topuria did exactly what he said he was going to do on Saturday night, sending ex-featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski into the shadow realm via a shocking second-round KO to claim his first UFC gold.

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As exciting as O’Malley vs. Topuria sounds, it’s unlikely that the UFC will move forward given that they are two of the promotion’s newest champions. ‘Sugar’ is yet to make his first defense of the bantamweight belt while Topuria is only days removed from his victory over Volkanovski. Perhaps once O’Malley and ‘El Matador’ clear out some of their stacked divisions, we will see a superfight between the two.