Instead of pursuing a title shot against his colleague Aljamain Sterling, Merab Dvalishvili appears to be eyeing a bout with former interim bantamweight title contender Cory Sandhagen.’Sandman’ used the chance to criticise ‘The Machine’ after defeating Marlon Vera by split decision at UFC on ESPN 43: “I would feel soo slimy if I asked for a title shot before Merab [Dvalishvili].” I have the utmost respect for Merab and aspire to be ranked above him. Merab, I have something for you to eat, but it doesn’t taste very nice.
The Machine told Megan Olivi that he would be open to a battle with “Sandman” during the post-fight media scrum:I adore the pairing because, well, he’s wonderful. He is an expert fighter. He will now likely be placed No. 3 in his division. I enjoy combat… I’d really like to tidy up the division. I enjoy trying new things. He called me out, and I would fight him whenever I could.’The Machine’ has often stated that he won’t be competing for the title as long as his comrade and friend Aljamain Sterling is the champion, despite the fact that Merab Dvalishvili has a good claim for the title chance as the No. 1 contender.
Dana White believes that Merab Dvalishvili is making a mistake by refusing to fight Aljamain Sterling
Dana White believes that Merab Dvalishvilis made a poor career choice by deciding not to compete for the title while his friend Aljmain Sterling is still wearing the belt.
The UFC president acknowledged that these incidents happened frequently when MMA was just getting started and there weren’t many camps for competitors to develop their techniques during the post-match news conference for the Power Slap finale.
White continued by describing the ridiculousness of “The Machine’s” choice to let other competitors go ahead of him in line for a title opportunity.
“You can still want what your friend has and still be friends… Going in that direction for Merab would be a really bad choice. Does Merab want to compete for the title then? Or Merab, who is the next in line for the title, would prefer to have those under him jump over him and have to fight all these various difficult opponents. I can tell you how that narrative turns out if that’s what he wants to do. That story’s finish is not satisfactory.