Islam Makhachev thinks he is ready for a title fight, and Dana White believes he’s getting much closer.
Coming off of his big first-round submission victory over Dan Hooker at UFC 267, Islam Makhachev is looking for a shot at the belt. The 21-1 fighter was coming into this shot against Hooker in the top ten of the division, but with the win, should find himself in the top five. Makhachev is looking for a title shot and said so after his win. Here’s what Dana White had to say when asked about Makhachev’s chances of scoring a title shot next.
“Yeah, he’s ready for somebody in the top 5—top 5, top 3, whatever becomes available,” White said post-fight. “And then obviously, if he gets through that, he’s in line for a title shot.”
The fighters ahead of Makhachev in the rankings at this point have all gotten title shots before except for Beniel Dariush. Two particular names of interest are Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje, who face one another this weekend at UFC 268. However, Makhachev pointed out that unlike himself, they have both already had their chance at the title.
“Yeah, he’s not wrong about that,” White said in response to Makhachev’s comments about Gaethje and Chandler. “And you never know how this is gonna play out. You never know who’s gonna get injured, who’s fighting who, who’s gonna lose, who can’t fight on such and such a date. Anything’s possible.”
Makhachev seems unstoppable in the UFC at this point, much like his mentor and coach Khabib Nurmagomedov was. Makhachev embraces the comparisons to Nurmagomedov and is proving that he could surpass him inside the Octagon. His submission win on Saturday tied him with Nurmagomedov’s UFC submission record at five.
Do you think Islam Makhachev earned a title shot with his win over Hooker at UFC 267?