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Islam Makhachev challenges fellow champion to UFC 294 ‘super’ fight: ‘What do you think?’

UFC 284: Makhachev v Volkanovski Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

Islam Makhachev is in need of an opponent for UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 21, 2023.

And he’s not looking for just a “warm body,” either.

Expected to compete at the event since its announcement, the reigning Lightweight champion’s most likely options quickly dwindled after UFC 289 and UFC 290 the past two months. UFC 289’s co-main event between top 155-pound contenders, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush, was the No. 1 contender bout, resulting in a first round technical knockout for “Do Bronx” (watch highlights). Unfortunately, Oliveira has since stated he won’t be ready in time for a potential rematch with Makhachev, who won the title from him at UFC 280 in Oct. 2022.

The next best possibility for Makhachev (24-1) was another rematch, but with reigning Featherweight roost-ruler, Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev, 31, earned a unanimous decision win over Volkanovski at UFC 284 earlier this year (watch highlights). “The Great” just returned to action in his 145-pound weight class, defending his crown against Yair Rodriguez via a third round technical knockout (watch highlights). Volkanovski had surgery on his left arm yesterday (Mon., July 17, 2023), according to Ariel Helwani, which will require six weeks of rehab.

In theory, that match up could still be made, but Makhachev is now calling for a different champion to fight.

“UFC Abu Dhabi, October 21st. Makhachev vs [Leon] Edwards. What do you think? @ufc @espnmma,” Makhachev tweeted.

Makhachev has expressed interest in eventually challenging for Welterweight gold, it’s just a matter of when. Edwards — UFC’s current 170-pound champion — seems destined for a date with Colby Covington as his next title defense, but nothing has been made official after teases of the upcoming pairing date back to Edwards’ most recent victory in March 2023.

Meanwhile, more top Lightweights, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, are currently gearing up for a violence-filled “Baddest Motherf—ker (BMF)” title rematch at UFC 291 on July 29, 2023. If the winner of that fight miraculously comes out unscathed, they too make for a potential option to challenge Makhachev in what would be the champion’s second title defense.


Should UFC make Edwards vs. Makhachev for UFC 294?

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