Islam Makhachev plotting welterweight title charge in UFC return: ‘I’m hoping he will fight at Madison Square Garden’

Islam Makhachev eyes welterweight title fight in UFC return I want him to fight at Madison Square Garden

Coach of Islam Makhachev, Javier Mendez lays out the 2024 plan for the reigning lightweight champion.

After firmly closing the Alexander Volkaovski chapter of his career thanks to a swift head kick, Islam Makhachev will look to continue to carve his championship legacy. However, with all of the top four ranked 155lbers all currently booked, it’s unclear who he will face on his return and considering his recently picked-up injury when exactly it will be. 

Islam Makhachev backed for welterweight leap

Talking with Casino Alpha, head coach of American Kickboxing Academy, Mendez, laid out what he would like, which includes eventually moving up in an attempt to win the welterweight title. 

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“After Ramadan, I’m hoping the UFC will fight Islam at Madison Square Garden, only because it’s good for his marketability to fight in the U.S.,” Mendez said. “That’s what I’d like, but right now there’s no fight on the horizon for him just yet. I’m sure soon the UFC will announce a return for him, but just not yet. 

Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, and then the welterweight title. They would be my three next fights for Islam. I’d like to see Islam become the welterweight world champion in 2025. I’d love to see that, and I know he would too. If we get two fights this year, who knows, you might see the UFC offer him a title shot sooner.”

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Makhachev is also currently ranked the UFC’s No.1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter and shows no sign of slowing doing. In fact, the 32-year-old has ended six of his last seven fights inside the distance. 

Whether it be a Oliveira or Tsarukyan rematch, or veteran slugger Gaethje next, Makhachev could see his hands full with all presenting their own threats but Makhachev will likely enter a heavy favourite into all three matches. It will be the move up to 170lbs that will the biggest risk of his career and where Makhachev could really cement himself in the history of the sport. 

Do you think Islam Makhachev can win the UFC welterweight title?