Friday, May 27, 2022

Islam Makhachev Answers If He’d Be A Backup For Oliveira/Gaethje

UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev is waiting to wait as long as it takes for the next lightweight title shot in Abu Dhabi and not as a backup.

Makhachev has now won 10 in a row, with the latest coming against short-notice replacement Bobby Green at UFC Vegas 49 last weekend. It didn’t take long for Makhachev to get a feel for Green’s gameplan and to finish the fight on the ground.

Makhachev has emerged as arguably the top lightweight contender who could face the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje. Oliveira and Gaethje are slated to meet in the main event of UFC 274 on May 7.

One element of conversation has been who could serve as the backup for the UFC 274 main event. During his UFC Vegas 49 post-fight press conference, Makhachev appeared to downplay the idea of serving as the backup and weighing in.

“For step-in, we have some guys like dos Anjos or Michael Chandler,” Makhachev said. “But (I deserve the title shot). I have 10-fight streak. And last 11 months, I’m training so hard. Like next week, I’m ready for fight, like, next pay-per-view show. But I want to fight in Abu Dhabi because I have (many friends) who stay outside because they cannot come (to the UFC APEX). I want to fight for the title in Abu Dhabi. All my friends can come and support me inside.”

Makhachev has long called for the title shot but wants to be slated as the certain challenger and not utilized as a backup plan. He’s looking to continue the legacy of his mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and reclaim the lightweight throne for Dagestan.

What is your prediction for Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje? How do you think Islam Makhachev would fare against both fighters?

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