Sean O’Malley announces Merab Dvalishvili as his next title defense: ‘Your wish is granted’

Sean O’Malley is ready to face the bantamweight division’s clear-cut No. 1 contender.

With Merab Dvalishvili riding a 10-fight win streak, it should come as a surprise to no one that a clash between he and reigning UFC champion O’Malley is in the cards. O’Malley recently avenged the lone loss of his career with a lopsided decision win over Marlon Vera at UFC 299, leaving the path clear for he and Dvalishvili to finally share the octagon.

Though O’Malley has flirted with the possibility of fighting featherweight champion Ilia Topuria or even dabbling in boxing, he stated plainly on his TimboSugarShow podcast that Dvalishili will be the opponent for his second title defense.

“Merab’s next,” O’Malley said. “Merab is f****** next. Your wish is granted.”

O’Malley has been a fan favorite and a well-promoted fighter since earning a UFC contract on the inaugural season of Dana White’s Contender Series. His dynamic striking style wowed Contender Series guest commentator Snoop Dogg, and the legendary rapper’s endorsement helped to guide O’Malley towards superstardom.

Currently one of the promotion’s most popular fighters, O’Malley would appear to have some leverage when it comes to picking fights, but he insists that avoiding a matchup with Dvalishvilli was never his plan.

“A lot of people said I’m ducking him — I just really am not ducking that little dude,” O’Malley continued. “I like the fight for me. There’s multiple ways to win. I’m excited about the fight now, finally. I was never ducking him, I was just never excited to fight him. He’s just such a, I don’t know — now, is it the right time?

“Like the ‘Chito’ rematch, the time will come where it’s the right time to fight certain people. Merab’s next, and be careful what you wish for, buddy.”

One reason why O’Malley might be hesitant to fight Dvalishvili is that the Georgian fighter is known for his relentless pace and wrestling, which could make him the perfect foil for the flashy O’Malley.

In preparation for Dvalishvili’s grappling, O’Malley joked that he may have to make a key change in training camp.

“I’m not even going to shadowbox, I’m going to ‘shadowwrestle,’” O’Malley said.