This may explain why Dana White is ghosting Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Now that Charles Oliveira is without his lightweight title, thanks to some scale shenanigans ahead of UFC 274 earlier this month in Phoenix, the promotion will need to scare up a viable contender to fight “Do Bronx” for the vacant strap later this year.
The two names at the top of the list are Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush, who are ranked No. 3 and No. 6, respectively. But who will prove to be the more deserving contender? They may have to fight in order to figure that out.
That’s according to former champion Rafael dos Anjos.
“The division is crazy right now,” dos Anjos told MMA Fighting. “It was crazy before, but now it’s even crazier. I believe if everything is going according to what Dana [White] said, Islam is going to fight Beneil [Dariush] in October in Abu Dhabi. Since Islam plays all those games against me, he didn’t take the fight, now Dana is going to punish him and keep him to fight Beneil and not going to let him fight for the belt. If that happens, I heard the UFC is going to do a big show in Brazil in December, and why not Brazil vs. Brazil? Once I get past Fiziev, me against Charles would be a great fight.”
Dos Anjos is currently ranked one spot behind Dariush at No. 7.
The Brazilian reached a verbal agreement to battle Makhachev at UFC 272 when Rafael Fiziev was felled by COVID and removed from the card; however, the deal fell apart when the Dagestani bruiser backed out at the eleventh hour, irritating White in the process.
That decision make come back to haunt him.
Dos Anjos was rebooked to fight Fiziev in July but we don’t yet know what will happen with Makhachev or Dariush. We also have to contend with the return of former champion Conor McGregor, who can use his drawing power to skip the line and fight for the title.