Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Islam Makhachev Provides A List Of Names Who May Have Rejected Fight

UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev is naming names.

This weekend at UFC Vegas 49, Makhachev will look to extend his winning streak to 10 when he takes on Bobby Green in the main event. While a 10th straight victory is always a great look on a fighter’s résumé, it carries much more weight when it comes against a top-3 fighter.

That was the original plan for the surging Makhachev when his sights were set on Beneil Dariush for February 26. That is until Dariush had to pull out of the fight due to injury last week. This caused Makhachev and the UFC to frantically search for a replacement to step in.

Bobby Green: UFC 258 fight cancellation was due to lung, kidney issues -  MMA Fighting
Bobby Green, Image Credit: Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

That replacement would turn out to be Bobby Green. While Green is a proven UFC veteran who has displayed his high level in his last two strong outings. the fact remains that he is not ranked in the lightweight division. This begs the question: Who did the UFC turn to first before they landed on Green?

Makhachev Provides List Of Names He Tried To Fight At UFC Vegas 49

One person who knows something about accepting the daunting task of a short-notice Islam Makhachev fight assignment is Dan Hooker. Hooker accepted a fight against Islam Makhachev on a few weeks’ notice when he agreed to face the Dagestani at UFC 267.

Both Hooker and Green came to the same conclusion that there had to be lightweights who rejected the Makhachev fight because they felt the risk did not match the reward.

Makhachev has implied that he has first-hand knowledge that this is exactly what happened when he and the UFC brass came a-knockin’ and only one person arrived at the door.

“When [Manager Ali Abdelaziz] say Beneil have injury, I tell him, ‘Hey, we have [Rafael dos Anjos]. He’s supposed to fight with [Rafael Fiziev], but [Fiziev] have some problem with visa. I say, ‘Hey, he’s ready, I think. Call him. And he say he don’t want.

“I say, ‘Call Tony [Ferguson], call [Gregor] Gillespie, Michael Chandler, someone. And just Bobby. Just Bobby give me answer. And I think this guy need a little bit money, that’s why,” Makhachev said on ESPN’s DC & RC recently.

Makhachev and dos Anjos were supposed to fight last year, but the fight fell through multiple times, with the Dagestani questioning the legitimacy of dos Anjos’ injury when he withdrew from their UFC 267 bout.

As Makhachev alluded to, dos Anjos is currently scheduled to fight Rafael Fiziev only one week later at UFC 272. Fiziev has recently experienced visa issues, so Makhachev thought it to be a practical solution for dos Anjos to replace Dariush, especially since the two were supposed to fight last year anyway.

Instead, we will see Makhachev face Bobby Green this weekend. For Makhachev, it doesn’t make a difference who his opponent is against. He stated that his game plan will remain the same: pressure, wrestle, and submit. If implemented successfully and he gets his hand raised for a 10th consecutive time, he will be expecting a world title shot next.

“Who we have now for the title fight? Justin [Gaethje] and Charles [Oliveira] gonna fight. Who we have? Beneil (is injured) maybe five, six months. But other people, who we have?…

“I really believe (I’m next) because I deserve. This is gonna be 10-fight win streak. And I think 10 fight, this is like key for the title.”

Who would you have liked to see step up to replace Beneil Dariush against Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 49?

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