- Islam Makhachev explained why he has never fought a high-ranking lightweight
- The 31-year-old insists Charles Oliveira used to avoid him prior to UFC 280
After going unbeaten in 10 consecutive fights, Islam Makhachev earned his first crack at the lightweight strap. However, some still discredit his incredible feat as they believe the 31-year-old never fought the top guys in the division.
Ahead of his UFC 280 title bout with Charles Oliveira, Makhachev lifted the lid on the subject.
In a recent interview with Shak MMA, Makhachev said it’s not his problem anymore if the high-ranking guys in his division didn’t want to fight him.
“All these guys from the top, they avoid me for many years,” Makhachev revealed. “But, this is not my mistake, I just fight who they put in front of me, I never choose some opponents and now this problem is gonna finish because now I’m gonna be champion and they’re gonna call me [champion]… All my professional career, I have this problem. I called [Michael] Chandler, I called Poirier, I called Gaethje, all these guys, but they were not going to answer. People still say Islam not beat someone from the top but this is not my problem. I always want to fight these top guys but they never give me an answer. This is not my problem.”
Makhachev added that even his upcoming opponent and former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira also used to “avoid” him.
“For example, Charles Oliveira. He tried to avoid me, he said I need new contract, he said I want to fight in Brazil…I want the money fight,” he continued.
Looking at Makhachev’s UFC record, the biggest names on his resume are Dan Hooker and Nik Lentz. He never shared the octagon with a top-five lightweight, but all that don’t seem to matter to the Dagestani fighter now as he is set to compete for the title.
UFC 280 will take place on Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.