Islam Makhachev was in the house on Saturday night (March 11, 2023) to watch UFC Las Vegas, which took place inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. And the Lightweight champion sounded ready to get back into the cage and defend his belt again.
Makhachev just came out of a war of a fight with Alexander Volkanovski last month, but he’s already looking across the 155-pound landscape for his next opponent. During an interview with BT Sport, the Dagestani fighter sounded ready to take on all comers.
“I’m just waiting for call,” he said. “When UFC call me and when they put someone in front of me, I will be ready.”
The most likely choice for a new No. 1 contender would be the winner of the Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush fight at UFC 288 on May 6, 2023.
“I hope Beneil [Dariush] wins because I already beat Oliveira and I need some new challenge, you know?” Makhachev said. “Dariush is going to be a good fight because this guy has good skills, striking skills, wrestling skills, and grappling skills. That’s right, it’s going to be a good fight. But Oliveira, if he wants a rematch, if he shows a good performance, maybe he’s going to be next. I don’t know.”
Asked if an immediate rematch with Volkanovski was an option for him, Makhachev didn’t hesitate.
“Anybody, I’m ready,” he declared. “Dana, call me and I’ll be ready.”
Makhachev was also asked about his thoughts on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31 with Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler as coaches.
“Conor chose Chandler. Chandler lost on purpose because if he beat a couple of guys it was never going to happen, versus McGregor,” Makhachev said. “Of course [he lost on purpose]. He fights like crazy, like he comes from the streets. That’s why they make the fight.”
It’s unclear whether McGregor vs. Chandler will take place at 155 pounds, but if “The Notorious” sticks around at Lightweight, Makhachev is open to a fight.
“He does not deserve, if he beats Chandler or some of the guys,” Makhachev said. “But, if UFC want, why not? Make some good money. Let’s go.”