Dana White has revealed that Islam Makhachev turned down the chance to square off against Rafael dos Anjos in the UFC 272 co-main event slot.
Makhachev, who is fresh off an easy first-round TKO win over Bobby Green at UFC Vegas 49, put himself forward for a fight with RDA when his opponent, Rafael Fiziev, withdrew after contracting COVID-19.
During a recent interview with Barstool Sports, White claimed that a deal was virtually done for Makhachev to step in on late notice but it collapsed for no apparent reason.
“Pretty close – I thought we had it done,” White said of 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].”
Renato Moicano was the man who eventually stepped in to face dos Anjos and White is pretty happy to have pulled off such a good fight ahead of his third pay-per-view event of 2021.
“The best fight that we could possibly make would have been him and Islam. RDA and Islam,” White said. “Islam turns down the fight. What’s the best fight you can make? [Renato] Moicano.”
Dana White Wants To Rebook Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush
Makhachev was supposed to fight top contender Beneil Dariush last weekend, but a leg injury forced the Iranian-American out of the UFC Vegas 49 main event.
White says because Makhachev turned down the chance to fight dos Anjos this weekend he will need at least one more win before being granted a lightweight title shot.
“He’s obviously doing very well,” White said about Makhachev. “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.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)
Are you surprised to hear Dana White say Islam Makhachev turned down the chance to fight Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272?