UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev already has his eyes set on becoming the Welterweight champ after dominating the 155 lb. division.
Although Makhachev is yet to make his first title defense at 155 lbs, his coach Javier Mendez has already proposed the idea of Islam moving up once he clears out the current lightweight division. Mendez and Makhachev have already begun the long-term planning of Islam capturing Welterweight gold in the future.
In an interview with Submission Radio, Javier Mendez stated:
“I can 100% see that… And the reason why I see that is because Islam wishes that. And when he wishes that, he’s going to will it to happen. So, he’s going to train, he’s going to clear out the division like he wants to do, and then he is going to go for the welterweight title, and whoever that person at that particular time is going to be, I feel he’s going to beat.” – (h/t MMA Mania)
Makhachev’s goal of being the Welterweight champion has been in discussion since late 2021. Later on in the interview, coach Javier Mendez continued:
“He was like, ‘Yeah, what do you think?’ I said yeah, and it’s just like with Khabib (Nurmagomedov). I never heard Khabib talk anything about other than lightweight. That’s it. Khabib never said welterweight, middleweight. But in my eyes, what I’ve seen in my eyes in the gym for all the years I’ve had Khabib, Khabib could’ve been the lightweight, the welterweight and the middleweight champion, in my eyes.” – (h/t MMA Mania)
Islam Makhachev must start with win over Alexander Volkanovski
Makhachev must first tackle the obstacle in front of him which will be no small task. On Saturday February 11th, Islam will take on a super-fight, headlining UFC 284 with the Featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski in Perth, Australia. While Volkanovski can make history and earn coveted double-champ status, Makhachev can retain his undisputed Lightweight title and continue his reign over the Lightweight Division.
In one of the biggest fights in UFC history, Makhachev will be put to the test against the #1 Pound-for-Pound fighter in the world, Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev and his coach Mendez’ plans are for a future at Welterweight, but this matchup at UFC 284 must not be overlooked.