Ahead of his upcoming UFC 284 headliner against featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski in two weeks’ time in Perth, Australia – undisputed lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev has voiced his concern with the organization’s promotion of the bout, given the stakes up for grabs between the pound-for-pound pack leaders. 

Makhachev, who will attempt his first defence of the undisputed lightweight title at the RAC Arena ‘Down Under’, grabbed the vacant crown at UFC 280 back in October on ‘Fight Island’ – submitting former champion, Charles Oliveira with a dominant second round arm-triangle choke.

READ MORE:  Israel Adesanya admits it's make or break against Alex Pereira at UFC 287: 'This is my last shot'

As for Volkanovski, the New South Wales favorite will defend his status as pound-for-pound number one against Islam Makhachev, while also attempting to add lightweight spoils to his featherweight crown.

Most recently, the dominant 145lbs champion handed former division kingpin, Max Holloway a third career loss in their UFC 276 trilogy co-main event slot during International Fight Week last summer. 

Islam Makhachev questions the UFC’s strategy in promoting his February return

Immediately pitted together following Makhachev’s victory over Oliveira back in October in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the American Kickboxing Academy mainstay has voiced his displeasure given the apparent lack of promotion from the UFC for their return to Australia for the first time since 2019. 

READ MORE:  Henry Cejudo rips UFC best Aljamain Sterling: 'He won the belt via Academy Award'

“I’m unhappy with the promotion of UFC 284,” Islam Makhachev said ahead of his title defense opposite Alexander Volkanovski. “(It) feels like the UFC could have done a better job promotion the fight.” 

Undefeated in his last 11 consecutive Octagon appearances, Makhachev would become the first Russian fighter to top the official pound-for-pound UFC rankings with a win over Volkanovski since teammate and former lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, before he bowed out of the sport in 2020. 

READ MORE:  Charles Oliveira plans to ‘Hunt’ Beneil Dariush at UFC 288: ‘I’m like a lion’

However, despite Nurmagomedov’s presence in Makahchev’s corner for his title coronation against Oliveira, the fan-favorite sambo ace will miss this month’s trip to Australia to corner the undisputed lightweight best.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.