Sean O’Malley switches gears, wants to fight Merab Dvalishvili after calling out Ilia Topuria at UFC 299

Sean O'Malley switches gears, wants to fight Merab Dvalishvili after calling out Ilia Topuria at UFC 299

After calling out Ilia Topuria at UFC 299, bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley is now turning his attention toward the division’s top-ranked contender.

‘Sugar’ secured his first defense of the 135-pound crown on March 9, delivering a dominant performance against the only man to have defeated him in his mixed martial arts career thus far, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera. O’Malley scored himself a heaping dose of redemption, outstriking his challenger 232 to 89 and running away with a win on all three scorecards.

Sean O'Malley

Immediately following the contest, O’Malley called for a superfight with current featherweight titleholder Ilia Topuria. The call-out was met with immediate backlash with many pundits suggesting that Sean O’Malley was trying to dodge the No. 1 ranked Merab Dvalishvili.

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Now, ‘Sugar’ has seemingly changed his tune, declaring that he wants to fight ‘The Machine’ next.

“I WANT MARAB,” O’Malley wrote on X. “2025 will be legendary.”

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Merab Dvalishvili has nothing, but respect for Sean O’Malley

Riding a 10-fight win streak dating back to 2018, Merab Dvalishvili left no question regarding his status as the next man in line with his impressive victory over Henry Cejudo last month. ‘The Machine’ outworked the former two-division titleholder, earning a decision victory in the process.

“He’s very technical, his footwork and reach works,” Dvalishvili said of Sean O’Malley during a recent interview with The Schmo. “I mean he’s working and getting better and I look at him as a good challenge, he’s a dangerous opponent for me and as a fighter. I have so much respect for him but we all have to find out this is MMA, we all saw a kickboxing fight on Saturday it was just all strikes, he’s done very good against grapplers before, but let’s see how he does with me, I’m the next guy we all know.”

As for Sean O’Malley, the bantamweight champ is now 18-1 in MMA following the events of UFC 299.