Aljamain Sterling, at least in light of the existing salary scale, won’t even consider taking on Merab Dvalishvili.
With his victory over Petr Yan in the main event of UFC Fight Night 221 on March 11, close friend and comrade Dvalishvili (16-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) is now widely regarded as the No. 1 championship contender at 135 pounds, which has left the UFC bantamweight champion in a bit of an unpleasant position.
Since Dvalishvili has continued to win and move up the bantamweight rankings while Sterling (22-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) has maintained his title, this situation has been anticipated. Along that course, both boxers have made it abundantly apparent that they will not square up.
“It’s his business, so I know that he’s going to try to make the matchups that the fans want to see, and I know the fans would love to see that,” Sterling said.
“Merab is a great dude. He’ll take off his shirt for anybody. He doesn’t even have to know you, he’s just that type of guy. To have that relationship with him and to throw it away for 500K? You know what I mean?”
“We never talked about that, and for us to fight for that kind of money, it doesn’t make a ton of sense,” Sterling added.
“Now, if we were talking about NFL money, money that can, actually – these guys make $50 million for like one or two years, you know what I mean? That’s life-changing money, you see what I’m saying?
“Why would we ever cross that type of line to do something that’s not going to last us, that’s not going to set us up financially for the rest of our lives? That’s just not worth it for me. I’m going to be there every step of the way, he’s going to be there with me as well. I met his family, and he’s met my family. We live across the street from each other. We both moved here with a goal in mind. I plan on eventually going up to 145, I want to just take out the trash, and I know ‘Triple Turd’ is saying whatever he’s saying about beating us both in one night.”