February 26, 2024

Top UFC contender Merab Dvalishvili picking up Henry Cejudo’s leftovers


Top UFC contender Merab Dvalishvili picking up Henry Cejudo’s leftovers
Merab Dvalishvili in Sean O’Malley’s jacket at a 2023 UFC event. | Louis Grasse / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

One of the more pleasant surprises of the 2024 MMA media sphere has been Merab Dvalishvili. Long known as ‘that other Serra-Longo bantamweight,’ the ‘Machine’ is set for another big test this next weekend at UFC 298.

In the lead up to that fight, Dvalishvili seems like he’s decided to have a little more fun than normal on social media. Helped along, of course, by his upcoming opponent Henry Cejudo—and the former two-division champion’s boundless ability for public embarrassment.

Merab Dvalishvili claims he’s hired Henry Cejudo’s coach

In the lead-up to the February 17th UFC PPV event, Henry Cejudo decided to use the promotion’s shoulder programming apparatus to take care of some personal business. Namely, sidelining one of the longest tenured members of his training staff.

“Well, Cap, I just want to talk to you and the whole team, man. You were with me for my last Olympic trials. You’ve been there for me. But as of right now, I just want to let you know, man, that for this camp, dude, I’m getting rid of specific coaches, man, and that’s you included, dude.” Cejudo told longtime coach Eric Albarracin on the latest UFC Countdown video. “Sometimes you’re just too close to somebody and people just get too comfortable.”

Wrong or right, it was a pretty crass move from ‘Triple C’, to use his media spotlight to mildly humiliate a member of his team. Fortunately for Albarracin, Merab Dvalishvili was right there to pick up the pieces. The 33-year-old apparently ran into Albarracin out on the street and used the opportunity to tell everyone that he and the Fight Ready captain had joined forces against the former Olympian.

“Henry Cejudo’s coach, he are with us,” Dvalishvili stated as he chased Albarracin down. “And now he’s going to teach how to beat Henry Cejudo.”

“We have a new coach!” Dvalishvili announced after posting a clip of Cejudo firing Albarracin. “Henry, goodbye, goodbye Henry. He is my coach now. I love my coach.”

Dr. Merab, UFC challenger

This wasn’t the only promo Merab Dvalishvili has cut for UFC 298 on his own time. Back on January 26th Dvalishvili took some time to dive into the UFC bantamweight title picture. Most notably, going after Sean O’Malley for his insistance on fighting Chito Vera—but he also had some time to lay a diagnosis on Cejudo as well.

Plus it seems he’s been taking a few more pointers from Cejudo’s training videos.

UFC 298 takes place this Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. The card is expected to be headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Ilia Topuria. A middleweight top contender’s bout between Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa is set for the co-main event.

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About the author

Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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