Sean O’Malley promises to knock out Elijah Topuria

Reigning UFC flyweight champion Sean O’Malley is ready to face Merab Dvalishvili after defending his title against Marlon Vera, however, the American prefers to move up to the featherweight division and challenge new division champion Ilia Topuria.

“When I think of a scary opponent, at the thought of a fight I get shaken up at the thought of, it’s Elijah Topuria,” the American said on another edition of The MMA Hour program. “I like the big fights. He can put out your lights and change your life. It’s really intimidating.”

“He knocked out the greatest welterweight in the second round. I knocked out the greatest lightweight fighter in the second round. And I’ve already started promoting this fight, getting a lot of hate for it – I was told I was avoiding Merab. Merab had just beaten Henry, but Henry is 42 years old now, something like that, and he looked terrible. I would have knocked Henry out four times in that fight. And then Elijah came out and knocked out Wolf, the greatest welterweight of all time, with a great performance. I challenge him and immediately I hear from the MMA fans, ‘Oh, you’re avoiding Merab’.”

“I’m just trying to put together a fight that I think will be exciting. I don’t know if people actually want me to fight Merab or if they just hate my confidence in going out there and knocking out Elijah. But I’ve made my decision and I’ve sent a message to Elijah. If Merab is next, so be it. I can meet with Elijah any other time. I haven’t talked to the UFC yet because there’s nothing to talk about yet. On March 9, I have a fight with Chito waiting for me, and right now I need to focus on that”

Last weekend at UFC 298 in Anaheim, Merab Dvalishvili defeated Henry Cejudo by unanimous decision to become the official lightweight contender, while Ilia Topuria knocked out Alexander Volkanovski in the main event of the number one contender’s bantamweight division in the second round to take the Australian’s featherweight championship belt from him.

The featherweight title fight between Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera will be the main event of UFC 299, which takes place March 9 in Miami.