Ilia Topuria Deflects Sean O’Malley’s Call-Out; Advises Merab Dvalishvili Fight First

Bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley has continued his call for a super-fight with featherweight titleholder Ilia Topuria next after beating Marlon Vera at UFC 299 on Saturday night, but his fellow title-holder believes the star has some unfinished business to take care of first.

“I want Illia,” O’Malley had declared in his post-fight Octagon interview after avenging his previous loss to Vera in style over five rounds.  “Baby, give me Illia… He’s a scary f—-ng dude. Illia excites me, going up a weight class excites me but I’m honestly here for whatever,” O’Malley said. If you guys want me to knockout Merab, I’ll do that too, but Illia is the exciting fight for the people.”

Topuria appears to have been impressed by O’Malley’s performance, but nonetheless he appears to agree with the sentiment of many fans that the 10-fight unbeaten Dvalishvili has to be next for ‘Suga’.

“Suga, congrats.. Was a beautiful performance!” Topuria wrote on X.  “There is a fight chasing you with Merab.. Get that done first .”

Topuria’ stance on the matter makes even more sense when you consider that both he and Dvalishvili were raised in Georgia and have a friendly relationship, to the extent that even Topuria’s own mother believes that Merab deserves his bantamweight title shot.

“It’s been a long time since our Merab has earned this fight and it needs to happen!” Inga Topuria had stated on social media after the fight.

More importantly, Dana White doesn’t appear to be on-board with either O’Malley or Topuria jumping up and down divisions at this early stage in their title reigns.

“I don’t know about moving divisions,” White said after UFC 299.  “You know how I feel about that.  Even Topuria was talking about not fighting anybody in the division after just winning the title.  That’s crazy talk.”  

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