While speaking with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Makhachev (22-1-0) said that is currently in Dubai preparing for a title bout that he expects to take place on October 22.
“I am in Dubai now preparing this area for a title fight,” said Makhachev.
The last time we saw Islam Makhachev in the Octagon, it was against late replacement Bobby Green in February. Green stepped in on short notice to replace an injured Beneil Dariush. Makhachev finished Green in the first round via TKO.
Riding a 10-fight win streak, Islam Makhachev and many others within the MMA community believe he is next in line for a title opportunity. Unfortunately for Makhachev, Dana White still has that #1 contender bout between Makhachev and Dariush on his mind.
“Who doesn’t think Dariush and Islam is a great fight? It’s a f*cking killer fight,” White said during the UFC 274 post-fight press conference. “I would love to see that fight to see who the No. 1 contender is, but I’m not gonna lie, after tonight I wouldn’t mind doing Islam vs. Oliveira, either. We’ll see what happens.”
Makhachev argues that he should not have to fight Dariush to determine the No.1 contender as the division has no champion.
“We don’t have a champion,” Makhachev said. “Charles is a contender. That’s why it’s going to be for the title. I deserve it. I have a 10-fight win streak.”
“[Oliveira] said I don’t deserve this, but he’s asking about Nate Diaz and Conor [McGregor],” Makhachev said. “I think Charles is a No. 1 contender now. We don’t have a champion because he don’t make weight. He is not a professional.”
Islam Makhachev Believes He Is a Much More Dangerous Fight for Oliveira Than His Previous Opponents
Makhachev believes he is a much more dangerous opponent for Oliveira than fighters like Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje. Unlike Oliveira’s last two opponents, Makhachev is very comfortable and confident going to the ground. With four submissions in his last 10 bouts and 10 victories via submission overall, Makhachev believes he can get ‘Do Bronx’ to the canvas and finish the former lightweight king.
“I’m gonna take him down, make him tired and he gonna give up like he did 10 times in the UFC,” said Makhachev. “If someone give him hard time, he’s going to give up 100 percent.
“[Justin} almost finish him, but when he drop him, he stayed striking. Everyone is scared of his grappling, but I don’t care about his grappling honestly, because I grapple with the best grapplers in the world. I grew up with Khabib [Nurmagomedov] all my life. That’s why I don’t care about his grappling.
“I’m gonna take him down, make him tired and I can finish him there. Everyone says grappling is his area, but I’m gonna finish him in this area.”
After victories over Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, many have talked about the prospect of Khabib Nurmagomedov returning to face Oliveira; an idea that Makhachev laughed off.
“This is like an easy fight for Khabib,” Makhachev said. “Khabib have the most dominant grappling from top. He’s going to take him down, hold him there. Very easy. I honestly think this is a very easy fight for Khabib. Stylistically, all of [Oliveira’s] pressure is not going to work against Khabib, because Khabib pressures all of his opponents.
“We don’t have to say Khabib is going to beat Charles. I’m going to beat Charles. And everybody is going to understand. Honestly, I believe I can finish this guy and I really want to finish him in the grappling, in his area. I know I can do this.”
Is Makhachev the man to face Charles Oliveira or does he need one more big win?