Merab Dvalishvili opens up on working construction and quitting MMA prior to finding success in UFC

Long before he was stepping into the Octagon as a UFC star, Merab Dvalishvili worked grueling construction jobs that nearly led him to give up on his MMA dreams.

In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Merab reflected on his humble beginnings over 10 years ago.

“When I came, I have hope that I will work hard and I will do everything for it. And you know I was building myself. I was thinking [that] I can do it. I can make the UFC and I can be like top 10 fighter.”

Merab felt hopeless and he almost quit MMA. The grueling schedule of manual labor and trying to fit in MMA training pushed Merab to the edge.

Merab said: “But… all my hopes gone in one year and I was just construction worker. I almost quit, you know. I quit couple times in MMA because it wasn’t making sense. I cannot even find the MMA gym I don’t even have a training partners. I cannot even get MMA fights here. I was training better in Georgia than US.”

At his lowest point, Merab considered walking away. He said: “I was working all day in construction. I was a demolition guy in the beginning, and it was so tiring. I was training after. I guess it wasn’t enough, and I lost my official pro debut. I have 10 fights in Georgia which doesn’t count, like I had my friends who fought same night they have this fight in professional record. But I don’t have it somehow.”

Merab would specifically spend all day tearing down walls and hauling debris, exhausted before even starting MMA training. He recalled how difficult it was to balance the demanding physical work with his dreams of becoming an MMA competitor.

But through perseverance and belief in his talents, Merab made it to the UFC and now stands at the threshold of a title shot.

Merab’s journey from grueling demolition jobs to UFC stardom proves that with hard work and determination, even the humblest beginnings can lead to championship dreams. His perseverance through adversity shows that we should never give up on pursuing our passions.