- Islam Makhachev said he knew his win over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 will not be given enough recognition and justice
- The lightweight champion suspects that the UFC has always been unfair to Russian fighters
The UFC has updated its official rankings and contrary to what many expected, Islam Makhachev didn’t move up to dethrone Alexander Volkanovski as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. What’s even more interesting, Makhachev was neither surprised nor upset about it.
It’s always been like that
Speaking to Russian media upon his return to Dagestan, Makhachev shared his raw and honest take on the UFC’s decision to retain Volk as the pound-for-pound king despite beating the featherweight champion at UFC 284.
According to the lightweight champ, he knew that there will be no “justice” in the rankings as the UFC, for some reason, has always been unfair to Russian fighters. To stress that it has been a pattern, Makhachev referred to Magomed Ankalaev’s split draw against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282 and Petr Yan’s controversial split decision loss to Sean O’Malley at UFC 280.
“The road home is always good, no matter how long you fly,” Makhachev said. “About the rankings, I never expected justice and still don’t because we saw on the example of our other fighters, [Magomed] Ankalaev, Petr Yan, saw the attitude towards us always. The main thing, I flew 13,000 kilometers there, defeated their champion. They raised my hand and with a raised head, confidently with a belt flew home.”
In all fairness to Makhachev, it seems like he isn’t really bothered by what the rankings say. In fact, he even declared himself as “the best fighter in the world” regardless if Jon Jones manages to win the heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285.
A rematch could settle the debate
Given the magnitude of the Makhachev vs. Volkanovski fight, it wasn’t a surprise that people had a lot to say about the judges’ decision. Hence, a rematch has now become a hot subject of conversation in the sport.
Eager to prove that there’s a reason why he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, Volkanovski is yearning to run it back with Makhachev. Nothing official is progressing at the moment but Makhachev’s coach Javier Mendez thinks the UFC will eventually consider a rematch.
Volkanovski’s unanimous decision loss to Makhachev saw his unbeaten UFC record coming to an end. Makhachev, meanwhile, improved his flawless streak to 12 consecutive wins in a row.
All quotes via Za.Khabiba