Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Michael Chandler: Makhachev Hasn’t Done Enough To Earn A Title Shot

UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler doesn’t believe Islam Makhachev has beaten a high enough level of competition to earn a title shot.

At UFC Vegas 49 last month, Makhachev made his first Octagon appearance of 2022. Against Bobby Green, who stepped in on short notice after a fibula break forced original opponent Beneil Dariush out, the Dagestani dominated en route to a first-round TKO.

With the triumph, Makhachev cemented his place in the 155-pound top five and extended his win streak to 10, leaving many believing he had secured the next place in line for a championship opportunity.

However, while Makhachev’s compatriot and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov seemingly suggested that was the UFC’s plan, the AKA product’s apparent decision to turn down a short-notice co-main slot with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272 was followed by some news that wouldn’t have pleased the #3-ranked contender.

UFC President Dana White announced the promotion would be looking to re-book Makhachev vs. Dariush for later in the year, rather than grant the 30-year-old a shot at gold. While that has split opinion, one of Makhachev’s fellow contenders has backed the decision.

Chandler Supports Makhachev vs. Dariush Re-Booking

During a recent interview with The Schmo, Chandler, a former three-time Bellator titleholder and the current #5-ranked UFC lightweight, claimed that, despite his dominant win streak, Makhachev hasn’t beaten enough high-level opponents to deserve a crack at dethroning the champion.

Interestingly, Chandler’s comments come despite the fact he was placed in a title fight following a sole victory over Dan Hooker last year, whom Makhachev also dispatched with ease in one round.

“It’s a tough one, man. People talk about win streaks, obviously. The man’s on a win streak. He’s looked extremely dominant,” said Chandler. “We have a common opponent. He beat Dan Hooker in the first round just like I did, so that was the first time that he really stepped into the lightweight division inside the top 10 and staked his claim as one of the guys who will be competing for the title in the future.

Watch: Islam Makhachev Almost Breaks Dan Hooker's Arm with a Submission at  UFC 267 - Sportsmanor
Islam Makhachev Defeats Dan Hooker At UFC 267

“However, beating Bobby Green shouldn’t get you a title shot. His fight before Dan Hooker was another guy outside the top 10. His win streak consisted of everybody outside the top 10 aside from Dan Hooker,” Chandler continued. “So I do think him and Dariush need to fight. I think it’s a great matchup. I think their strong suits complement each other very well. They’re both grapplers. But the UFC is the best promotion on the planet. They know what they’re doing. They know how to put together great fights. That’s a tough one to call, but I think Islam needs to continue to cut his teeth inside the top of the lightweight division.”

With his chance for gold seemingly pushed back, which many believe paves the way for Conor McGregor to receive an immediate title shot upon his return, Makhachev will adjust his sights back to Dariush for their re-arranged collision,

With a victory over the Iranian-American, it’d certainly be hard to deny the Dagestani’s title credentials.

Do you think Islam Makhachev has already done enough to earn a title shot?

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