Islam Makhachev has his eyes on “double-champ” status.
Russia’s dominant Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight kingpin returns to action at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates later this month (Sat., Oct. 21, 2023). Nearly one full year to the day of his title reign starting, Makhachev will seek his second successful title defense when he takes on the man whom he won the title against, Charles Oliveira.
While focused on the task at hand, the Sambo smashing machine knows what he wants after a potential win. Makhachev’s first defense at UFC 284 this past Feb. 2023 came over UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, via thrilling unanimous decision (watch highlights). Since Makhachev was defending, he didn’t have the opportunity to earn a second divisional title like his Australian counterpart.
“I don’t know what the UFC has planned, but my dream fight is for the second belt,” Makhachev told ESPN. “Of course, I am under contract, so whatever the UFC says, I will fight, no problem. But Edwards vs. Colby — I really believe I can beat [the winner]. I look at their skills and what they have as champion and I know my skills. It’s going to be a good fight. I’m not saying I’m going to beat them easy. It’s going to be a hard, tough fight against a big guy. But I believe I can finish those guys.
“I gave a chance to that guy, so they have to give me a chance, too,” he continued. “I gave a chance to a guy from another division to come to my weight and to try to take this belt, and he lost. I want my chance, too.”
Makhachev has been nearly flawless in his 25-fight career, losing only once opposite Brazil’s Adriano Martins via flash knockout in his second Octagon appearance in Oct. 2015. To get his shot at a second title, Makhachev believes his chances will be better should the 170-pound crown change hands.
“I hope [Covington] wins, because I don’t know what Leon says about [fighting me],” Makhachev said. “I’ve never heard Leon say he wants this fight. But Colby wants it. That’s why I want Colby to win and we can meet one day. It would be a very good fight, he has good wrestling. It’s going to be U.S. wrestling vs. Dagestan wrestling. He’s a good fighter. He has good wrestling and good conditioning, but in my opinion, I stop his wrestling and land many good punches.”
To see the rest of the UFC 294 fight card and PPV lineup click here.
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