Islam Makhachev explains why he turned down UFC 300 title fight against Leon Edwards

Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev turned down the chance to headline one of the biggest UFC events ever.

Next month, UFC 300 will be headlined by a light heavyweight title tilt pitting reigning and defending champion Alex Pereira against former titleholder Jamahal Hill. In the weeks preceding the big announcement, multiple fighters were rumored to step into the main event spotlight next month, including Israel Adesanya, Khamzat Chimaev, and Jon ‘Bones Jones’

Islam Makhachev

Among those top names was current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, who revealed that UFC CEO Dana White came calling with an opportunity to move up and challenge Leon Edwards for welterweight gold.

“Honestly, yes, but it’s not possible, man,” Makhachev said when asked if he was offered the spot while speaking with MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn. “Because we have Ramadan now. One month with fasting, and it’s not possible to do training in Ramadan. It’s very hard. You have to fast when the sun rises, and all day you have to fast. … Training this time is very hard.”

Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev eyeing fight with Dustin Poirier

Considered the holiest month on the Islamic calendar, Ramadan runs from March 10 through April 9. With UFC 300 scheduled to go down on April 13, there simply wasn’t enough time for the ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ to prepare himself for such an important opportunity.

“Of course (it makes me sad), this is a dream fight for me,” Makhachev said. “I don’t have any small chance to fight at UFC 300, that’s why I’m very upset, man. It’s a big deal, big fight with Leon Edwards for the second belt, but this time I miss the chance.”

Though the timeline for UFC 300 did not work out, Makhachev hopes that he can book himself a fight this summer. With both Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira already booked, Makhachev has been angling for a fight with former interim champion Dustin Poirier. The Diamond’ is fresh off a highlight-reel-worthy knockout of Benoit Saint-Denis at UFC 299 on March 9.

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“I know Dustin does not deserve the title fight, but we don’t have any option right now,” Makhachev said. “Everybody is busy. I want to fight. I want to fight three times this year. I have to call out someone, and Poirier is free now. He showed an excellent performance and scored a beautiful knockout. He’s free now, he’s healthy, and I asked him to fight in June.”

Check out the full interview with Islam Makhachev below: