Islam Makhachev is aware that Khabib Nurmagomedov has expressed concern going into UFC 294.
Makhachev is scheduled to put his UFC lightweight gold at stake against a familiar foe on October 21. It’ll be Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira 2 inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. In their first encounter around this time last year, Makhachev submitted “Do Bronx” in the second round to capture the UFC Lightweight Championship.
On Khabib Expressing Concern Ahead Of Oliveira Rematch
In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Makhachev responded to Khabib Nurmagomedov recently telling Gorilla Fighting that the rematch with Oliveira will be a more difficult fight than the first meeting.
“He always say this,” Makhachev said. “‘Hey, you’re next fight is gonna be more hard,’ because he think I’m gonna underestimate him, he think I’m not training, but he always told me, ‘Hey, this guy is gonna be different, he’s gonna be more strong,’ but I training always same, you know?”
Islam Makhachev Wants UFC Welterweight Championship
The 155-pound titleholder went on to reveal a personal goal of his while he’s still fighting in the UFC.
“I don’t know what the UFC has planned, but my dream, fight for the second belt,” Makhachev said. “Of course, I have the contract. Whatever the UFC say I will fight no problem, but I want to fight for the second belt. Who is there? [Leon] Edwards vs Colby [Covington]? I really believe I can beat this guy because I look at the skills of the champion, and I know my skills. It’s gonna be good fight, I’m not saying I’m gonna beat him easy or something like he’s gonna be easy fight. He’s gonna be a hard fight, tough fight because he’s big guy, but I believe I can finish this guy.”
USADA Called Islam Over IV Accusations
Even if he beats Oliveira a second time, fans are likely to be more interested in Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski 2. Makhachev has looked dominant ever since suffering his first pro MMA loss. With that said, many feel Volkanovski has given him the most stern test during his current run of dominance.
There were IV accusations hurled at Makhachev from Volkanovski’s team following UFC 284. The lightweight champion cleared the air on that situation.
“They just, I don’t know, because they lose the team makes some trouble, some drama in Australia, but Wednesday, the official commission from Australia took the blood from every fighter,” Makhachev said. “In the fight hotel, they bring some people, take the blood, and someone took the pictures when I had official photoshoot, and say he make the IV. After the fight, USADA called me many times about the situation about the IV. I told them, ‘Hey, guys I want to finish this. Where I live in the hotel, they have camera in the first floor. In the elevator, they have camera, in my room right next to the door, they have the camera. Every corner they have camera. You can watch, I give you some permission, you can watch all camera and do your job.'”
You can watch the full ESPN interview with Islam Makhachev below: