UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping and active light heavyweight Anthony Smith have chimed in on the fallout from UFC 294.
On October 21, Islam Makhachev successfully defended his UFC Lightweight Championship in a rematch against featherweight titleholder Alex Volkanovski. Makhachev scored a head kick that dropped “The Great,” and then finished the fight with ground-and-pound.
Michael Bisping & Anthony Smith On Alex Volkanovski’s UFC 294 Loss
On an episode of the “Believe You Me” podcast, Anthony Smith shared his belief that trying to beat Makhachev on short notice is a tough task.
“Not for nothing, Volkanovski couldn’t beat him with a full camp,” Smith said. “Whether you believe that he won the decision or not, he didn’t. So, he couldn’t do it with a full camp. It was gonna be really hard to do on 12 days’ notice. So, it was just an uphill battle. I don’t know that anybody can beat Islam with no notice, no preparation.”
Michael Bisping mentioned one aspect of Islam Makhachev’s kicking game that he liked.
“I’ll tell you what Islam did as well, which was really good, as he was pressuring him back towards the fence, of course he went low multiple times setting up the head kick, he was feinting the level change,” Bisping said.
Makhachev’s Next Title Challenger
Smith admitted that he’d prefer to see Justin Gaethje challenge for Makhachev’s UFC Lightweight Championship next over Charles Oliveira.
“Islam is just a different style of wrestler, so I think that Gaethje will have more success defending takedowns from that style of wrestling vs Khabib’s,” Smith said. “Islam has proven to be one of the best strikers in the world, which that’s the one thing he has that Khabib never did. I’m not saying Khabib didn’t have the ability, it just wasn’t his style. He didn’t have the desire to stay in front of someone for long periods of time because he didn’t have to.”
While Bisping likes the idea of Makhachev vs. Gaethje, he isn’t opposed to the Oliveira rematch.
“I’m not gonna be mad if it is Charles Oliveira, and by all accounts it is gonna be,” Bisping said. “Listen, fair play. Charles Oliveira beat Beneil Dariush, inserted himself into that. For Islam Makhachev, I guess, if he can fight Charles and beat Charles again he can close the book on that just like he closed the book on Volkanovski.”
Here is the full episode from the “Believe You Me” podcast: