UFC star Islam Makhachev set for sidelining until post-Summer through injury amid links to Justin Gaethje fight

Islam Makhachev sidelined through the summer amid injury from UFC

Undisputed lightweight champion and pound-for-pound number one, Islam Makhachev has been confirmed as out until the summer at the very earliest according to UFC CEO, Dana White – who also revealed the Russian is being lined up to fight either former foes, Charles Oliveira, or Arman Tsarukyan next.

Makhachev, the current pound-for-pound number one ranked fighter on the promotion’s books, has been sidelined since he turned in a hellacious opening round high-kick KO win over two-time foe and featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski back in October at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Islam Makhachev sidelined through injury until after summer

And initially offering his services at organizational events from January through to March ahead of the beginning of Ramadan, Makhachev is currently recovering from an injury according to White, which will sideline him until the summer at the earliest. 

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“(Charles) Oliveira was supposed to fight the champ, Islam Makhachev, but Islam is still recovering from an injury,” Dana White revealed. “(Arman) Tsarukyan is coming off a vicious knockout of Beneil Dariush. The winner will face Islam when he returns this summer.” 

Linked with a championship fight defense against former interim titleholder, and current symbolic BMF gold holder, Justin Gaethje, Makhachev has been linked with a return as soon as March, however, with the confirmation of his sidelining from UFC boss, White, it remains unclear as to what the former’s future will be.

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According to White, the victor of a slated UFC 300 title-eliminator between former champion, Oliveira, and the surging, Tsarukyan will face Makhachev as the pair look to strike a title rematch with the American Kickboxing Academy force.

Twice defending his lightweight crown, Makhachev went the distance with Volkanovski in their first clash back in February of last year, landing a close decision win over the New South Wales technician. 

Who does Islam Makhachev fight in his return to the UFC this year?