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Islam Makhachev: Dustin Poirier ‘knows he’s not going to be champion’

UFC 269: Oliveira v Poirier Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Everybody likes money. It’s the name of the game, isn’t it? It’s considered “prizefighting” after all. Maybe just not to the same extent for everyone... take Islam Makhachev as an example.

The surging Russian 155-pound lightweight has positioned himself to where many believed he deserved the next crack at current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) belt holder, Charles Oliveira. This coming after Oliveira successfully defended the strap for the first time with a third-round rear-naked choke submission of Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in December (watch highlights).

The loss for Louisiana’s finest came in Poirier’s second UFC title opportunity (excluding his interim bout with Max Holloway in 2019). Now, Poirier finds himself speculating going up to the 170-pound welterweight division where he’s been having a verbal back-and-forth with Nathan Diaz. Because of this, Makhachev sees it as Poirier shifting his focus.

“I think he just wants to make money,” Makhachev told Red Corner MMA (h/t MMA Junkie). “He knows he’s not going to be champion no more. That’s why he’s thinking about money now. He just wants to choose weight where he can make more money. This is my opinion.”

Makhachev, 30, currently rides a nine-fight winning streak with his last three all ending via submission (21-1 overall record). While the master of Sambo certainly has made his case to challenge for gold, he’ll have to wait until Justin Gaethje has his turn against Oliveira at UFC 274 in May.

“Charles Oliveira — he’s champion now and he showed good skills last two fights. That’s why I think end of this year, we’re going to meet him in Abu Dhabi,” Makhachev predicted.

Meanwhile, Makhachev is next tasked with attempting to extend his streak to 10 with a win over Beneil Dariush on Feb. 26 in the UFC Vegas 49 main event.

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