Since suffering his one and only loss in professional MMA, a knockout defeat to Adriano Martins in 2015, Makhachev has been on a tear. In building a 10-fight win streak, the Dagestani has added the names of Nik Lentz, Arman Tsarukyan, Drew Dober, Thiago Moisés, and Dan Hooker to his résumé.
Now, having risen to #3 on the 155-pound ladder courtesy of a first-round TKO victory over Bobby Green earlier this year, Makhachev appears within touching distance of his first championship opportunity on MMA’s biggest stage.
When he gets there, the 30-year-old is seemingly expecting a comfortable night at the office should the current lightweight king maintain his place on the throne.
On Twitter, Makhachev recently replied to a fan who suggested that a title fight between the Makhachkala native and Oliveira would be the most interesting in the UFC right now. In response, Makhachev gave a specific prediction for how he’d defeat the reigning titleholder.
“I will submit Oliveira inside 3rd., screen it”
Interestingly, the fan also insisted that Makhachev must challenge the victor of this weekend’s UFC 274 main event, which will see top contender Justin Gaethje look to bring Oliveira’s rule to a close.
However, according to UFC President Dana White, Makhachev will have to get through Beneil Dariush first. The pair were originally set to meet in February, but Dariush was forced to withdraw after breaking his leg in training.
Despite dispatching short-notice replacement Green, Makahchev’s decision to turn down a fight with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272 on just five days’ notice appeared to set the ball rolling for a re-arranged clash with Dariush for later this year.
While the promotion is looking to give Makhachev his first top-five opponent, which many expect to be a title eliminator, the champion doesn’t even believe that would be enough for the Dagestani to book a date with him inside the Octagon.
During UFC 274 fight week, Oliveira claimed that Makhachev will need another victory after adding Dariush to his record before fighting for gold. Having laughed off that claim, Makhachev is certainly expecting the chance to make good on his third-round submission prediction soon enough.
How do you think a fight between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira would play out?