Born on January 10, 1991, Merab Dvalishvili has made waves in one of UFC’s toughest divisions. He is currently ranked no. 3, but, this ranking came along with a price. However, Merab suffered some defeats in his first two fights in the promotion. Later, he went on a tear in an 8-fight win streak, defeating the likes of Cody Stamann, Marlon Moraes, and former featherweight king Jose Aldo.
However, ‘The Machine’ hasn’t been living in the United States his whole life. After every win, he bears not just his native Georgian flag but also the American flag inside the Octagon. This is to honor his birthplace, Georgia, and the soil where he realized his dreams through persistence and hard work, the United States of America.
Being best friends and training partners with Aljamain Sterling, Merab happens to train under Matt Serra and Ray Longo, the duo that has been responsible for training several champions in the promotion. But, all this glory didn’t come without a cost. Prior to being a professional fighter, Merab worked as a construction worker for about 7 years. He trained MMA independently as he wasn’t left with much from his meager salary.
THREAD about Merab Dvalishvili as a construction worker. #UFC252 – 1/3
He managed to emigrate for 7 years and work at the constructions at the same time and also, trained hard independently on its way to become a successful. pic.twitter.com/78ELZS8UGY
— Giorgi Kokiashvili 🇬🇪 ✊ 🇺🇦 (@iHeartGeorgius1) August 16, 2020
Despite such hardships, Merab reached his goal of becoming a high-level MMA fighter and ultimately signed with the UFC, the biggest MMA promotion out there.
What is Merab Dvalishvili’s religion?
Merab can be either referred to as a Georgian, or a Kartvelian. The no. 3 ranked contender belongs to the Caucasian ethnic group, a group native to Georgia and the South Caucasus. The Georgians became one of the first groups to embrace Christianity.
Born and raised in the small city of Tbilisi, Georgia, Dvalishvili has been an Eastern Orthodox Christian his whole life, practicing primarily in The Georgian Orthodox Church. The aforementioned church is one of the world’s most ancient Christian churches.
Having a long history of religious harmony within its borders, Georgia served as the perfect place for Merab to practice Christianity whenever he would find time from training in Sambo, Judo, and Qartuli Chidaoba (traditional wrestling).
Is Merab Dvalishvili now an American?
As mentioned above, while ‘The Machine’ was born in the country of Georgia, he has been living in the United States for just a bit over a decade now. Aljamain Sterling’s best friend and training partner, Dvalishvili moved to America at the young age of 21 to pursue a career in Mixed Martial Arts. Now, the 32-year-old is ranked number 3 in one of UFC’s toughest divisions, bantamweight.
While fans may think that Merab must be an American citizen by now, looking at his 11+ years of stay within the country, there is no concrete proof to substantiate that claim. However, UFC fighters are no alien to moving to the United States and eventually becoming its permanent residents. Michael Bisping, Anderson Silva, Glover Teixeira, Kamaru Usman, etc. come to mind, among the fan-favorite ones.
Whether or not Merab has officially become an American citizen, his love for his native country hasn’t gone anywhere. During the media day event pertaining to UFC Vegas 71, The Georgian-born appears to be visibly angry when recalling what Russia did to his homeland of Georgia, referring to the 2008 war.
Merab Dvalishivili looks forward to stealing the no. 2 ranking of his Russian opponent Petr ‘No Mercy’ Yan at UFC Vegas 71 on March 11. The card will take place at The Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada. Do you think the winner gets the next title shot? Let us know in the comments down below.