Salt Lake City, Utah — UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili arrives in Utah for UFC 278, ready to face legend Jose Aldo for the title A shortlist of contenders. He tried to act on Saturday night.
Devalishvili (14-4) has been sidelined since beating Marlon Moraes at UFC 266 in September 2021. The 11-month hiatus leaves plenty of time for the bantamweight contender.
“I just train to get better. I went to train with Ilia Topuria. It was a good trip. I had a good time there and then I went to my country for New Years, but I got Covid-19 there Virus. I had to stay at home and wear a mask,” Devalishvili told the Cageside Press and other outlets on Wednesday.
“I’m not in a rush because I know the UFC has to give me a big name or a good fighter, tough. tough fighter, and then I know it’s not going to be short-term, and I know I have time.”
Dvalishvili fought a big-name fight with former WEC and two-time UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Sports legend Aldo has had a long list of contenders throughout his career.
“I was shocked when the UFC called me and gave me this fight because I was ready for everyone but not Jose Aldo. I was thinking I wasn’t old enough (couldn’t fight with Aldo), but I think I am. Then he fights with me,” he said.
Victory over Aldo puts Dvalishvili at the top of the league table.
“Winning him means a lot to me. I’ve always felt love and support from people, fans, and now I also feel respect from the UFC. I know it means a lot to me,” Dvalishvili said.
A quibble for Dvalishvili to win at UFC 278 and top the list for the bantamweight title. His teammate Ajaman Sterling is the UFC bantamweight champion.
“We’re still on the same page. First, I have to win this fight. Aljo has to defend his belt and I know he will. We’ll talk later. We’re good friends, we’re training partners. He’s helping me, He’s by my side and I’m going to help him after the battle. He’s going to fight,” he said.
“We’ll help each other. We’re good teammates, good friends, good neighbors.”
Watch Merab Dvalishvili’s entire Media Day Scrum above. UFC 278 will take place on August 20 at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.