The clock may be ticking on Aljamain Sterling’s time atop the Bantamweight division, but not because of future outcomes in his own fights.
Rising through the ranks behind Sterling’s ascent has been his teammate, Merab Dvalishvili (14-4), who is currently unbeaten in his last seven outings. Pulling off one of the crazier comeback victories fans will ever see in his last time out against Marlon Moraes at UFC 266 in Sept. 2021 (watch highlights), Dvalishvili should now be poised for a big showcase bout.
Assuming Dvalishvili wins his eventual next fight, it could lead to a Bantamweight title shot, which puts him and Sterling in an odd spot. Both men have said they’ll never fight the other and, ultimately, it could lead to Sterling being the one to have to make a move.
“After Merab’s next win, I will probably have to move up, to allow him his chance that he earned, to make history for Georgia [Georgia flag emoji] to win a world title,” Sterling tweeted. “We will figure it out.
“Would be a FUN as fight [with Alexander Volkanovski] I think,” he added. “That man is a tank! Having his scalp on the resume would be a major accomplishment. We’ll see. Until then, I have work to do at 135.”
Regardless of what happens next for Dvalishvili, it’s safe to assume Sterling will be fighting at Bantamweight as champion at least one more time. With several options out there to defend against, the thought appears to be a pairing with former two-time champion, T.J. Dillashaw.
Sterling believes that’s the direction, anyway. However, nothing has yet to be made official.
“Not a definite until @danawhite @seanshelby and I chop it up and see what’s the best option for myself and the company,” Sterling said.