Islam Makhachev Coach Javier Mendez Says Beniel Dariush ‘100 Percent’ Deserves Shot, but ‘Fans Want to See Alex and Islam.’

Following Islam Makhachev's UFC lightweight title victory at UFC 280, coach Javier Mendez discussed the impending bout with Alexander Volkanovski and who he feels Makhachev should really be facing

Islam Makhachev
Courtesy of Submission Radio on YouTube

Islam Makhachev shocked the world on Saturday, capturing the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 280.

Makhachev scored a second-round submission over the most prolific finisher in promotional history, Charles Oliveira to become the new lightweight king. Immediately following his victory, Makhachev was joined by the man expected to be his first challenger, reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. ‘The Great’ was in Abu Dhabi to serve as the official backup for the lightweight headliner.

Fortunately, Volkanovski’s services were not needed that night, but it appears a showdown down under with Islam Makhachev is on the docket for early 2023. Discussing the potential bout is Makhachev’s coach Javier Mendez who sat down with Submission Radio to talk about the decision to face the featherweight king on his home turf. 

“Well, you’ve gotta think about this, Number one, the UFC brings Alex for a reason. Because they want it to happen. So no matter what you guys want, no matter what we want, it’s what the UFC wants. Obviously, the UFC is pushing that so obviously who are we to think, ‘No we don’t want that. We want this.’ It doesn’t matter what we want. The UFC is gonna give us who they want to offer. We can accept or not accept. If we don’t accept, okay they shelve us.

“They decide who’s going to be put up and that’s what they want on the next title [fight]. Now, who is actually in my opinion more deserving from a true professional sports sport, because this is not a true sport? This is entertainment sport, so from a true sport, [Beneil] Dariush, he deserves it. He 100 percent deserves the next shot, but because this is entertainment sport, fans want to see Alex and Islam go for it.”

On Saturday, Dariush scored his eighth-straight victory inside the Octagon, besting fellow lightweight standout Mateusz Gamrot via unanimous decision. The win put Dariush in the No. 4 spot on the divisional rankings, sitting only behind Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, and the former champion, Charles Oliveira. 

Javier Mendez on Weaknesses in Volkanovski’s Game That Islam Makhachev Can Exploit

With the proposed super fight between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski tentatively scheduled for February 2023, that only gives the fighters four months to adequately prepare. Speaking about potential weaknesses in the game of ‘The Great’, Mendez says it is too early to tell aside from the glaring height difference that the Dagestani destroyer holds over his Australian challenger.

“Well, I know I have to look at Alex more. I haven’t seen too many of his fights, to be honest with you. What I did see, I was super super impressed. I have to watch more and see where we can expose some of the areas he might give us that I would perceive as his weakest areas. I don’t think he’s got any weak areas, but I would have to look at the tape to see. So right now, it’s really hard for me to give you anything like that because I haven’t watched his videos like I need to before I make those kind of judgment calls so for right now, I’ll just say we’re taller”

Expected to go down on February 11th, the UFC will head to Perth, Australia for UFC 284. The card is expected to be headlined by the lightweight title bout featuring Australia’s own Alexander Volkanovski gunning for two-division gold against the newly crowned lightweight champion. No other bouts have been announced at this time. 

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