Rafael dos Anjos: Islam Makhachev Is Too Small To Beat Leon Edwards For Second UFC Title

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos doubts Islam Makhachev’s chances of achieving two-division glory.

Makhachev has cemented himself as the 155-pound kingpin with three defenses since completing his long laud out path to the throne formerly occupied by his friend and mentor, the great Khabib Nurmagomedov.

After submitting Charles Oliveira to win the gold in 2022, Makhachev went on to defeat then-featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski in a pair of contests last year, before most recently stalling Dustin Poirier’s late-career title ambitions.

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With his latest triumph at UFC 302, talk of the Dagestani surpassing “The Eagle’s” legacy and career on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage has increased. Many have pointed to a possible weight change as one factor that could move Makhachev into prime position to be the lightweight GOAT.

But although the reigning titleholder has frequently expressed his plans to move up, one of Makhachev’s peers doesn’t see him getting the better of the champ above…

‘RDA’ Dismisses Makhachev’s Chances Of Beating Edwards

During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, Rafael dos Anjos was asked for his take on Makhachev’s welterweight ambitions.

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The Dagestani looks set to be tasked with at least one more assignment at 155 pounds in the form of Arman Tsarukyan before looking to join the ‘champ-champ’ club.

But should Makhachev get the better of the Russian-Armenian again and earn a shot at Leon Edwards, “RDA” doesn’t expect him to have the size and physicality to dethrone “Rocky.”

“I remember when I moved up, I fought all the contenders. … When you move up and go straight for the title, of course you have a bigger chance to become champion,” dos Anjos said. “But I don’t think Islam — he’s got very good momentum right now, but I don’t think he could beat Leon Edwards and become a double champion.

“I just think the size difference — Leon is a much bigger guy. And we saw smaller guys like Poirier giving Islam a lot of trouble,” dos Anjos continued. “Poirier, man, he’s very tough, but he used to fight at 145 (pounds) and he gave Islam a hard fight.””I just think the size difference — Leon is a much bigger guy. And we saw smaller guys like Poirier giving Islam a lot of trouble,” dos Anjos continued. “Poirier, man, he’s very tough, but he used to fight at 145 (pounds) and he gave Islam a hard fight.”

Before potentially getting the chance to prove the Brazilian wrong, Makhachev must further cement his grip on the lightweight crown.

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In addition to Tsarukyan likely being next in line should he complete the requirements to reduce his suspension to six months, Charles Oliveira has also reiterated his plan to work his way to a second dance with Makhachev, while Michael Chandler claims to have been offered a title opportunity.

Edwards, meanwhile, is next tasked with defending his welterweight strap in a rematch against Belal Muhammad at UFC 304 in Manchester this month.

Beyond that, the Brit isn’t short on potential challengers, with the likes of Shavkat Rakhmonov, Jack Della Maddalena, and Ian Garry all waiting in the wings as first-time matchups.

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