The UFC’s bantamweight division might just be the most stacked division right now. It has been the home of a murderers’ row for quite a while. With a prospect like Umar Nurmagomedov riding on his undefeated record, fans couldn’t be more excited for all the potential matchups. Aside from this, The former two-division champion Henry Cejudo looks to make a grand comeback in an attempt to dethrone Aljamain Sterling.
‘Triple C‘ recently took to his YouTube channel to weigh in on the current state of the bantamweight division. The 36-year-old touched on his return at UFC 288. However, the division’s rising star Umar Nurmagomedov seems to have caught Cejudo’s attention quite a bit. The former Olympic gold winner spoke highly of the undefeated prospect who is now 4-0 in the promotion.
“Right now the talk is that Merab is gonna fight [Umar] Nurmagomedov sometime in July. […] I talked to Ali [Abdelaziz, his manager] and he said Merab has been offered the fight. He’s the number 1 contender right now. Umar is starting to start pretty much stepping on the toes to be able to fight for a title. If there’s one guy that’s probably the most dangerous guy in that division besides ‘Triple C’, his name is Umar Nurmagomedov”, said Henry
Cejudo further elaborated on Dvalishvili’s chances in that fight by saying, “Merab’s got options, it depends on what he wants stylistically. I can tell you right now, that Umar fight, you gotta be ballsy to take a fight like that. But that’s probably who Merab is, and that could probably cost him that title shot. If he thinks his will and wrestling, after he had a great performance against a guy [Petr Yan] that can’t defend a damn takedown if he thinks that can take him far, then good luck.”
Umar Nurmagomedov ready to fight Merab Dvalishvili in June or July
Umar doesn’t coincidentally share the same last name with former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, the duo happen to be cousins as well as training partners. Currently ranked #11 in the promotion, Umar is looking to extend his perfect record of 16-0. At times he seems to be receiving the “Makhachev treatment” as almost nobody in the division expresses to fight him.
However, based on what Henry Cejudo just mentioned above, it seems like he wasn’t lying about the potential matchup. Umar Nurmagomedov recently took to Twitter to claim that UFC president Dana White has offered him and Merab Dvalishvili the main event slot for May 13th. The 27-year-old also suggested that since Merab is injured at the moment, he would like to wait until June or July.
ufc @danawhite offer me main event, May 13 I accept against Merab he have injury I wish him a speedy recovery, but I’m waiting to share the cage with him June or July
— Umar Nurmagomedov (@UNmgdv) March 27, 2023
Upon seeing this, renowned Georgian MMA journalist Giorgi Kokiashvili responded back with a tweet. Giorgi mentioned that he spoke with Merab about the callout and that the latter accepted the bout. Merab told him, “I was really offered to fight Umar. Of course, I accepted, even when he didn’t deserve to fight me[#1]. But the medical team said – no because I’m injured.”
While Merab isn’t one to pull himself back from a tough fight, his medical suspension might delay this dream matchup for a while. The Georgian native is coming off a dominating victory over former champion Petr Yan. On the same night, Merab set a new record for the most takedowns attempted in the UFC.
Do you think Umar waits for Merab Dvalishvili’s return? Or does he snatch the very next opportunity thrown at him? Let us know in the comments down below.