Makhachev was crowned the new UFC lightweight champion after impressively finishing Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 tonight. In round two, the 31-year-old landed a huge right that knocked Oliveira to the canvas, before sinking in an arm triangle that forced the Brazilian to tap.
Cornering Makhachev to victory was of course the lightweight GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov, who immediately following the fight let fans know of his plans for Islam’s next matchup. Coach Khabib told UFC color commentator Daniel Cormier that his protégé will next take on Alexander Volkanovski—a challenge that the pound-for-pound king, who was sitting cageside, stepped into the Octagon to accept on the spot.
Khabib Lays Out Makhachev’s Path To Victory Against Volkanovski
If all goes to Khabib’s plan, Makhachev will make his first lightweight title defense against Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, which is scheduled for February next year. And of course, the key outcome of that plan is for Islam to have his hand raised. Speaking to ESPN, Khabib laid out exactly how he will get it done.
“Volkanovski clinch…lot of knees…he’s gonna eat lot of knees, [Islam] is gonna take his all energy, take him down and he’s gonna choke him out,” said Khabib. “This is what I think…this is the way how I see the fight is gonna go. Of course, Volkanovski can box, he have amazing experience…how many time he defend his title, everything, but brother this is like…Thai clinch gonna kill him, because even if he know this, let him prepare this, how many month, five month, six month? This guy [Islam] doing this 20 years. Let him prepare this: clinch, wrestling, freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman, grappling, Thai clinch, left hand.”
Featherweight champ Volkanovski, who’s currently riding a 22-fight win streak, had made the trip to UFC 280 Abu Dhabi as a backup for the main event. And while he didn’t end up fighting Makhachev or Oliveira, it seems only a matter of time before he shares the Octagon with new UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.
At the close of his interview, Khabib would look directly into the camera and deliver a message to Volkanovski.
“Volkanovski, we respect you, but we’re gonna take your place, brother. You have pound-for-pound #1 right now, but Islam is gonna be on your side. You have to prepare.”
What’s your take on Khabib’s prediction for a potenial Makhachev vs Volkanovski matchup?