Arman Tsarukyan: Islam Makhachev ‘Wants To Avoid’ Rematch, Why It’s ‘Better To Fight’ Dustin Poirier

Tsarukyan explains why Makhachev is positioning himself for Poirier and also previews his next fight.

Tsarukyan Islam
(via @arm_011, @islam_makhachev - Instagram)

Arman Tsarukyan is gunning for a title fight with Islam Makhachev. 

Since losing his UFC debut to the UFC Lightweight Champion back in 2019, Tsarukyan has gone 8-1 in his Octagon run. The Armenian-born fighter is closing in on the title picture with his next fight lined up against former champ Charles Oliveira at UFC 300.  

With this potential title eliminator booked for Apr. 13 and Justin Gaethje also taking on Max Holloway, Makhachev doesn’t have many candidates for his next defense of his championship. That’s where former interim title-holder Dustin Poirier comes in. While he’s not the most ‘deserving’, the champ will still settle for ‘The Diamond’ in June.

‘More Dangerous’ Tsarukyan Won’t Blame Makhachev If He Fights Poirier

Tsarukyan reacts to the direction Makhachev seems to be going in.

“I feel like Islam wants to avoid us,” Tsarukyan told Morning Kombat, regarding Makhachev’s plans to fight Poirier. “He feels like I’m gonna win and for him, it’s better to fight Poirier than me, because I’m a more danger for him. Because, I know wrestling and I mean, maybe he can make more money with Dustin probably because of that, he is interesting.”

‘I Know How I Can Stop’ Charles Oliveira

Regardless of whoever Makhachev chooses as his next opponent, the goal remains the same for the top-ranked Tsarukyan.

“Anyway, for me, it doesn’t matter. I just focus on Charles Olivera,” Tsarukyan stated. “After that that fight, we gonna talk. Because Oliveira, I gotta think about him and focus on him because he’s one of the best on in our division and this is the biggest fight for me.

“I gotta prepare everywhere. He is super good on the striking, on the wrestling and so he is dangerous everywhere. He knocks out people and he chokes people. But you know, I work every day, watch his fights and I wanna stop him and I know how I can stop him.”

Oliveira has proven to be one of the more tougher fights in the shark-infested lightweight division. From 2018 to 2022, ‘Do Bronx’ put together one of the most insane runs in UFC history with 11 straight victories in the promotion that saw him become a champion in 2021.

The Brazilian was stripped of the belt after a controversial weight miss vs. Justin Gaethje and later fought Makhachev for the vacant title, to which he lost by submission. Oliveira hopes to avenge the loss, but he must first face Tsarukyan.

Tsarukyan Wants To Steal Oliveira’s UFC Shine

It’s #1 vs. #4 in the lightweight division and Tsarukyan is firm in his belief that this high-stakes fight will determine the rightful contender to challenge for Islam Makhachev’s coveted title later this year. 

“For me, it’s like when I beat him, everybody gonna talk about me. This guy is one of the best in this division because Charles, he beat a lot of fighters and he was a champion. He defend a couple times and he just lost to Islam Makhachev and that’s it. So nowadays for me, number one is Islam, #2 in lightweight division, it’s Charles Oliveira. I’m just training hard every day and like think about him all day. This victory gonna give me all the opportunities that I want.”

“Not maybe,” Tsarukyan added. “It’s 100% contender #1 for the title. After this fight, I’m gonna be contender #1, and I’m gonna fight for the title. That’s it.”

Published on March 15, 2024 at 5:56 pm
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