Merab Dvalishvili says the UFC is ready to offer him a former title challenger for his next fight.
Dvalishvili (13-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) notched his sixth consecutive win when he defeated Cody Stamann this past Saturday at UFC on ESPN 23, and he wants a step up in competition. He stated in the post-fight news conference that he’s targeting either Sean O’Malley, who’s been booked since, or former champions T.J. Dillashaw, Jose Aldo, Cody Garbrandt, and Dominick Cruz.
Looking to make a quick turnaround, Dvalishvili said the UFC came to him with not a former UFC champion, but a former title challenger in Marlon Moraes (23-8-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC).
“They mentioned Marlon Moraes, and I would love to fight with him,” Dvalishvili told MMA Junkie Radio. “Big respect, he’s a great fighter, he’s a knockout artist, he submitted (Raphael) Assuncao. They mentioned his name, but who knows? Maybe he doesn’t want to fight me because he’s a big name. He’s a former WSOF champion, and he fought for the title against Henry Cejudo. He has a big name, so I don’t know.”
Dvalishvili, who fought three times in 2020, is aiming for another active year. He’s right back in the gym and looking to compete against a top contender within the next couple of months.
“I was gonna go on a 10-day vacation to my country, but I’m not going,” Dvalishvili said. “I’m staying here, and I’m training, and I’ll be ready if anything (happens). I’m healthy, no injuries, and I wan to fight. I should fight somebody who’s a big name because now six straight wins, and I should be 8-0 in the UFC.”
He continued, “I may fight soon, maybe one month, two months. I just want to be ready.”