Makhachev captured the 155 lb. crown in impressive fashion in the UFC 280 main event tonight, finishing Charles Oliveira by arm triangle in the second round. And it seems that Islam, who’s now on an 11-fight win streak, has all but signed off on his next matchup.
Immediately after the win, Makhachev’s coach Khabib Nurmagomedov told UFC color commentator Daniel Cormier that he’s planning for his protégé’s first title defense to come against featherweight champ Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia.
“You know what is interesting? Charles Oliveira is number two pound-for-pound, right?” Nurmagomedov told Cormier in the Octagon. “He finished Charles, now is our plan, fly all the way to Australia and fight in pound-for-pound king’s backyard with Volkanovski. Let’s do it; we know we gonna finish this guy.”
Cormier then asked Makhachev what he thought of Khabib’s plans for his next fight, and if he had anything to say to Volkanovski, who was sitting cageside.
“Is there anything you want to say to the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, Alexander Volkanovski?” asked Cormier.
“I didn’t see this short guy, where is he?” Makhachev replied
“Get Volkanovski in here,” said Cormier.
Volkanovski of course quickly stepped into the Octagon and accepted the challenge.
“This guy said he wants to fight you in Australia, to defend his championship against you where you try to become a double champion, are you down?” asked Cormier.
“Let’s do it,” replied Volkanovski. “Aye, the lightweight [title] on the line, the pound-for-pound number one on the line, let’s do it.”
Volkanovski’s Wish Comes True After Backup Role
The matchup was of course what Volkanovski had been seeking after making his way to Abu Dhabi to be the backup for the UFC 280 main event. The featherweight champ is currently on a 22-fight win streak, having defended his featherweight strap four times.
If the bout with Makhachev becomes official as per Khabib’s plan, Volkanovski will face the lightweight champ in his native Australia when the UFC visits Perth for UFC 284 in February next year.
What’s your take on Alexander Volkanovski accepting Islam Makhachev’s challenge?