Islam Makhachev believes that fighters have avoided him but won’t be able to after he becomes champion
Makhachev has an impressive record of 22 and 1 and is currently riding a 10-fight win streak into the main event slot at UFC 280. There he will face off with Charles Oliveira for the vacant Lightweight title.
However, Islam Makhachev has faced a lot of criticism regarding that winning streak because he has yet to beat a top 5 ranked opponent. In a recent interview, Makhachev addressed these critics.
“All my professional career, I have one problem. All these guys from the top they avoid me for many years. But, this is not my mistake, I just fight who they put in front of me, I never choose some opponents and now this problem is gonna finish because now I’m gonna be champion and they’re gonna call me [champion]… All my professional career I have this problem.” (H/T BJPENN)
Islam Makhachev believes he’ll be ready for the Lightweight gauntlet after he becomes champion
As mentioned above, Islam Makhachev will have to face off with the best the Lightweight division has to offer if he defeats Charles Oliveira. But, it’s not like Makhachev has been purposely avoiding top-ranked guys. In 2020, he was set to take on Rafael dos Anjos on two separate occasions, but the fight fell through due to illness and injury, respectively. A year later, the two top lightweights were once again matched together, but this time dos Anjos suffered an injury and couldn’t make it to the event.
While just earlier this year, Islam Makhachev was set to fight highly ranked Beneil Dariush, however just days prior to the main event, Dariush suffered an injury and Bobby Green stepped in to face Islam Makhachev.
It seems as if a string of bad luck, rather than Makhachev’s aversion to top-ranked guys, is the reason for Makhachev not fighting elite competition. However, all of this can easily be put to rest if he can get past the ever-dangerous Charles Oliveira, who is on the best run of his MMA career.