UFC bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili won't be back in the Octagon until later in the year.
Dvalishvili recently had surgery on his right hand and is currently sporting a cast, his manager Oren Hodak of KO Reps confirmed Wednesday with ESPN. Hodak said Dvalishvili will be in a splint for about six to eight weeks, and a return to the cage likely won't happen until three or four months from now.
Former UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo has been calling for a fight with Dvalishvili, but that will have to wait. Cejudo lost to Dvalishvili's teammate and current UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling earlier this month at UFC 288.
ESPN has Dvalishvili ranked No. 2 in the world at bantamweight. He has said he will not fight Sterling, so a potential title shot won't happen until after Sterling is no longer the champion. Sterling defends the 135-pound belt against Sean O'Malley at UFC 292 on Aug. 19 in Boston.
Dvalishvili (16-4) has won nine straight, and his eight straight bantamweight wins are the second-most ever in UFC bantamweight history. The 32-year-old Republic of Georgia native is coming off back-to-back wins over former UFC champions Petr Yan and Jose Aldo.