In the world of mixed martial arts, rivalries between countries have always played a significant role in hyping up fights. These rivalries often transcend the sport itself, reflecting longstanding political and cultural tensions between nations.
Petr Yan has never been a personal favorite of Merab Dvalishvili. Well before their upcoming fight at UFC Fight Night this week was set, Dvalishvili discovered himself against Yan in his prior matchup with his teammate Aljamain Sterling, the current UFC bantamweight champion.
In the upcoming fight between Merab Dvalishvili and Petr Yan, the stakes are high for both fighters, but especially for Dvalishvili, who is carrying the weight of responsibility for his home country of Georgia. Dvalishvili declared the significance of this matchup, calling it "Russia vs. Georgia". This is not just a fight between two individual fighters, but a clash between two nations with a long history of conflict.
Being a representative of his nation, "The Machine" feels a huge sense of duty and is aware that his fellow Georgians will be eagerly watching his actions in the octagon. He is adamant that he will win for his country since he feels that this struggle is not only about him but rather about his entire nation.
Merab Dvalishvili, the No. 3 ranked UFC bantamweight contender, recently spoke with The Schmo regarding his impending contest versus Petr Yan and the tremendous responsibility he carries to depict his native Georgia.
"I just want to win this fight that's it. That will better than win title you know, because despite it not only fight this is personal fight for me. My country supporting me you know."
The Georgian native further added:
"It's not secret that, Russian they are not treating Georgia and Ukraine good. And this is like Russia vs. Georgia and this is sport but this is big-big modern fight for me."