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Dana White lambasts Aljamain Sterling, Merab Dvalishvili for putting friendship above UFC title aspirations

Dana White lambasts Aljamain Sterling, Merab Dvalishvili for putting friendship above UFC title aspirations

To say UFC president Dana White isn’t a fan of Aljamain Sterling’s and Merab Dvalishvili’s attitude toward the next bantamweight title shot would be an understatement.

He hates it.

Sterling lost the 135-pound championship to Sean O’Malley less than two weeks ago when he was TKO’d in the second round of their UFC 292 main event. Since then, neither Sterling nor Dvalishvili, who are teammates on Serra-Longo Fight Team, has been adamant about wanting the next title shot for himself. In fact, it’s been the opposite.

Sterling has a legitimate case for an immediate rematch after making more consecutive title defenses (three) than any other UFC bantamweight champion, but he’s admitted the timing matters, which is why he believes Dvalishvili should be the next challenger. Dvalishvili’s case is supported by a No. 2 official ranking at 135 pounds and a nine-fight winning streak, but he’s shown respect to Sterling by saying he’d wait until after an O’Malley-Sterling rematch.

The fact that both Sterling and Dvalishvili are willing to put their friendship ahead of UFC title aspirations is something that White hates to see.

“Everybody in this room and everybody that watches this video knows how I feel about this sh*t,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during the DWCS 60 post-event news conference. “Yeah, I hate it and if that’s – why did you even get into this sport if that’s your mentality in the way that you think? ‘I don’t even want the title. I don’t even want the championship. We’re friends, we’re this, we’re that.’

“This is not – you could be friends with everybody in this business. There’s a lot of nice people in this business. A lot of good people. This is not about friendship. This about finding out who the best in the world is. And if you don’t want to find out who the best in the world is, this is not the place for you. You should be somewhere else. There’s plenty of places to fight where they don’t give a sh*t what you do. Doesn’t work here.”

Sterling caught word of White’s message and responded in the comments of an MMA Junkie Instagram post.

“Give him the title shot then,” Sterling wrote, referring to Dvalishvili. “Either way, it’s a win for us.”

The situation surrounding Sterling and Dvalishvili will be moot – for the time being – if O’Malley’s first title defense ends up being a rematch with Marlon Vera, who’s coming off a unanimous decision win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 292. “Chito” has been very vocal in calling for the rematch to take place in December, something O’Malley appears to want given his desire for revenge after losing to Vera by TKO in 2020.

Vera, who’s won five of his past six fights, is No. 6 in the official UFC bantamweight rankings.

Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.

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