Makhachev most recently defeated Bobby Green in the main event of UFC Vegas 49 last weekend. Shortly after the fight, it was revealed that Rafael Fiziev had to pull out of his UFC 272 matchup with Rafael dos Anjos after testing positive for COVID-19.
The UFC scrambled to find a short-notice replacement to face Dos Anjos, with Makhachev raising his hand immediately on social media. However, he allegedly turned down the fight and the promotion ended up booking dos Anjos vs. Renato Moicano in the UFC 272 co-headliner.
Makhachev was originally supposed to face Dariush in the UFC Vegas 49 main event before Dariush suffered an injury in camp. During a recent interview with Barstool Sports, White appeared to shut down Makhachev getting a title shot next.
“Pretty close. I thought we had it done,” White said about Makhachev vs. Dos Anjos. “When I went to bed one of the nights, I thought it was done. Woke up the next morning and found out they turned it down. Islam [turned it down]. No clue [why].
“He’s obviously doing very well. I love the Dariush fight. Since he turned down this fight, we’re going to remake the Dariush fight. We’ll get that fight going. Dying to see that fight. He gets through Dariush, very interesting.” (h/t MMA Fighting)
After dos Anjos found out that Makhachev turned down a short-notice fight, he accused Makhachev of “folding” when offered a co-main event opportunity.
White’s admission could potentially open the door to former UFC champion Conor McGregor skipping the line and getting a title shot upon his return later this year.
White previously said in a separate interview with TMZ that Dariush remains a factor in the lightweight division. After Makhachev called for the next title shot, it appears that the UFC plans to go in a different direction for his next Octagon appearance.
What is your reaction to Dana White’s plan for Islam Makhachev?