Islam Makhachev is the talk of the lightweight town after a screwy couple of weeks. Not long after losing opponent Beneil Dariush, the Dagestani grappler bagged and tagged Bobby Green at UFC Vegas 49, then rejected a short-notice fight against former division champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272 because the promotion wouldn’t meet his asking price.
A cool $1 million, according to Dos Anjos.
“Not million dollars, 100 percent not million dollars,” Makhachev told ESPN. “I asked about some conditions but very small conditions, nothing big that wasn’t possible to do. UFC [didn’t] call me, not [manager] Ali [Abdelaziz] call me, I wake up and I call Ali and I tell him talk with UFC please, I want this fight. But UFC not do it. That’s why the fight didn’t happen and that’s it. Now Dana says, ‘Islam has to fight versus Dariush.’ I have no problem fighting him but who has to fight for the title next?”
It could be former lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who is hoping his box office muscle will be enough to strong-arm the promotion into rubber-stamping a title shot once “Notorious” returns from injury. As it stands, Charles Oliveira will defend the 155-pound strap against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 this May in Phoenix.
“I think this is fake,” Makhachev continued. “For the fans that make some interesting, but I think this fake. It’s gonna be hard for him to make 155 because he drunk all days and lot of people are gonna smash him in this situation. He just gonna fight versus Nate Diaz or some old people for make some money, and that’s it. He’s never gonna be champion. He’s never gonna be compete this level. This guy has money, everything, but if he wants to come back, let’s do it. I will be happy to smash him.”
A date for McGregor’s Octagon return has yet to be determined.