Former lightweight champion and teammate to Islam Makhachev, Khabib Nurmagomedov retired. Now Islam reacts to the new lightweight title fight announcement, and addresses what is next for him.
Khabib has been incredibly vocal about his support for his close friend and teammate Makhachev. The undefeated Dagestani has even gone as far as to suggest that Islam is a future champion, with coaches saying that he is even better than Khabib is.
So far, things have appeared to line up with these sentiments, save for a lone knockout loss for Islam back in 2015. Since then, he has won seven straight, including his most recent decimation of Drew Dober, at UFC 259.
Michael Chandler Does Not Deserve Title Shot
With Khabib’s recent retirement, it was announced that Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler would be fighting for the vacant lightweight title. However Islam Makhachev does not agree with this decision from the UFC.
Speaking in a recent interview, the Dagestani prospect explained that he feels like Oliveira is deserving of the title shot. On the other hand, he does not think that Chandler has done enough to warrant the title shot.
“Honestly, I think Oliveira deserves it, he’s got a good win streak, but I don’t agree with Chandler being in there,” Makhachev explained.
“He had one UFC fight, and he hasn’t been tested. That first fight ended quickly. I think (Justin) Gaethje or Dustin Poirier could’ve fought for the title. But (the UFC) always has their own plans.”
Islam Makhachev Down To Fight Justin Gaethje
While Islam Makhachev feels like Justin Gaethje is deserving of the title shot, Justin is without a fight despite originally being expected to face Chandler. So that opens the door for a potential fight between these two.
When asked about it, Islam said he would absolutely be down to fight Gaethje. In fact, he would not mind fighting on the same card as the targeted trilogy fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor on July 10th.
“(Poirier vs McGregor 3) will be a huge card. I just fought on a stacked card, and when there’s hype around the event, that’s a plus for the fighter,” Makhachev explained.
“Yes, (a fight with Gaethje) is possible. Justin and I know each other, but it’s not like we’re friends. It’s possible. He’s free right now. Why not? I’d love to fight him.”
Would you like to see Islam Makhachev face off against Justin Gaethje? How do you see that fight playing out?