Sean O’Malley: “I knocked out Merab Dvalishvili.”

Reigning UFC flyweight champion Sean O’Malley explained why he wants to make the first defense of his title against sixth-ranked Marlon Vera rather than against division runner-up Merab Dvalishvili.

“I knocked out Merab on August 19 – the same day I knocked out Aljamain Sterling,” O’Malley said on another edition of The MMA Hour program. “It’s the same thing. They’re everywhere together, they walk around together, they walk behind the handle – it’s the same person. That’s why I knocked them both out on Aug. 19.”

“I challenged Chito even before I knocked out Aljo. I said – if I beat Aljo and Chito beats Pedro Munoz, I will make the first title defense against Chito. That fight has to happen – I see it that way. I want to fight him, but at the end of the day, I’m ready to knock out anyone they put up against me.”

As a reminder, Marlon Vera is the only fighter to defeat Sean O’Malley three years ago, winning the fight by technical knockout in the first round.

The American is scheduled to rematch the Ecuadorian fighter on December 16 at UFC 296 in Las Vegas.