Aljamain Sterling won’t jeopardize friendship by fighting Merab Dvalishvili under current pay: ‘Throw away for $500,000?’

Aljamain Sterling will not think of fighting Merab Dvalishviliat least under the current salary structure.

The UFC bantamweight champion has been in a bit of an awkward position in recent weeks as his good friend and teammate Dvalishvili (16-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) has risen through the 135-pound ranks and is now being considered by many of the No. 1 title contenders follow his Main Event win over Petr Yan at UFC Fight Night 221 on the 11th of March.

That situation was seen to come as Sterling (22-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) remained champion and Dvalishvili continued to win and climb the bantamweight ladder. Along the way, both fighters knew they weren’t going to fight each other.

UFC President Dana White recently said it would be a “really bad idea” if Merab didn’t fight Sterling. Sterling understands where White comes from as a promoter but says he might consider the idea if UFC pay was much higher.

“It’s his thing, so I know he’s going to try and make the matchups that the fans want to see and I know that the fans would love to see that,” Sterling said “My Mom’s Basement with Robbie Fox.” “Merab is a great guy. He takes off his shirt for everyone. He doesn’t even need to know you, he’s just that guy. Having that relationship with him and throwing her away for 500,000? You know what I mean?”


Photos: Aljamain Sterling over the years

Sterling cherishes his friendship with Dvalishvili, but he would at least consider the idea of ​​both fighters being offered life-changing cash.

“We never talked about that, and fighting for that kind of money doesn’t make sense,” Sterling explained. “Now, if we were talking about NFL money, money that’s actually possible — these guys make $50 million for about a year or two, you know what I mean? This is life changing money, do you know what I’m saying?

“Why would we ever cross that kind of line to do something that won’t last us, that won’t support us financially for the rest of our lives? It’s just not worth it to me. I will be with every step, he will also be with me. I met his family and he met my family. We live across the street from each other. We both moved here with a purpose. I plan on going up to 145 at some point, I just want to take out the trash, and I know ‘Triple Turd’ says everything it says about beating the two of us in one night.”

For now, Sterling is focused on defending his belt against Henry Cejudo on May 6 at UFC 288. He believes his run is almost over at 135lbs, opening the doors to the title for Dvalishvili and putting an end to the idea of ​​him battling his friend and teammate.

“The perfect blueprint is to get the junk out (fighting Cejudo), maybe get a mega payday with O’Malley because he’s scared of fighting everyone. I don’t think he wants anything from Merab. I don’t think he wants a part of me unless it’s for the belt. I think we can see the writing on the wall.”


Aljamain Sterling won’t jeopardize friendship by fighting Merab Dvalishvili under current pay: ‘Throw away for $500,000?’

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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