Islam Makhachev prefers a shot at the title rather than money. “I’d definitely pick a title fight, because I never had that chance.” the fighter said in an interview with RT Sport.
When asked about fighting on the McGregor v Poirier card, he expressed his desire to be on the card. He believes that being part of a big card is a good bonus for the fighter. Clearly, he is hungry to prove himself and wants to go up against the best.
Naturally, a fighter of Islam’s caliber would love to fight on another huge card. Question is, who could possibly be a worthy candidate ?
Going through the list of probable candidates, the Russian himself thinned out the list stating that Paul Felder “isn’t eager to fight anymore” and that Dan Hooker would probably still be recovering from his last fight.
Rafael dos Anjos is also touted with the pair previously supposed to fight, but with medical complications on both sides, the fight did not go through. Makhachev’s rivalry with RDA is also well documented, with the Brazilian also quoted saying “stop the hype around this guy.”
A New Contender for Islam?
Islam admits that he could very well end up facing Dos Anjos. “Most of the top-10 fighters are busy, but I’m 90% sure they’ll give me a top 10 guy,” said the Russian fighter sparking theories that a surprise contender could be involved: enter Justin Gaethje.
Justin Gaethje last fought Makhachev’s teammate and friend Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 in October, and is in the mix. Makhachev wants to prove himself to be a title contender hence, a fight against Justin is his best bet.
“Yes, it’s possible. Justin and I know each other but it’s not like we’re friends,” Makhachev said. “It’s possible. He’s free right now” he continued, hinting towards a possible match up. He has also said that he would “love” to fight Gaethje.
Whilst it seems Islam would want to fight Justin Gaethje, he is also aware that the UFC’s matchmaking could very well have him fight Rafael dos Anjos instead.
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