After Islam Makhachev cut through Charles Oliveira with relative ease at UFC 280, it seemed like Alexander Volkanovski was next for the new lightweight champion. Probably in Australia, given the UFC was returning to Perth in February. But that may not be the case, according to Islam.
Makhachev was probably hoping his career was going to get a lot more simple now that he holds the title. Instead, he sounded pretty frustrated with the UFC’s inability to seal the deal for his next title defense.
“I’m not sure what UFC wants, February Australia or March Vegas,” Makhachev wrote on Twitter. “I honestly don’t care about location and opponent, I never choose opponents. Just send a contract and stop playing games.”
Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski went to some pretty extreme lengths to ensure he was next in line for a shot at the lightweight title. He rushed rehab on an injured hand so he could be the backup to Makhachev vs. Oliveira at UFC 280. He did a full press run hyping up his role, and his dream of becoming a double champ. And then when Islam Makhachev won in Abu Dhabi, Alexander Volkanovski climbed into the cage for a face off.
The idea that Makhachev and Volkanovski may not fight after all that is wild indeed. But it’s worth noting that there’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to a champion vs. champion fight. Is Makhachev’s manager asking for more money to fight the 145-pound champ in his home country? He probably should be. And if the UFC doesn’t want to pay it, maybe they just say ‘Fine, you can fight Beneil Dariush in Las Vegas.’
I’m not sure what UFC wants, February Australia or March Vegas, I honestly don’t care about location and opponent, I never choose opponents. Just send a contract and stop playing games
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) November 5, 2022
That’s a complete hypothetical, but also completely realistic when it comes to how the UFC tends to negotiate. And there’s got to be a reason why Makhachev vs. Volkanovski in Australia isn’t anywhere near signed, sealed, and delivered, despite all the hype.
Islam Makhachev’s win over Charles Oliveira advanced him to 23-1 MMA (12-1 UFC). It also propelled him up to the top of the official UFC pound-for-pound rankings. He now sits in position No. 3, with Israel Adesanya at No. 2 and Alexander Volkanovski at No. 1.
With the lightweight belt in his position, Makhachev has made it clear that he wants to take Volkanovski’s spot at the top of the P4P list next. Do you think that fight is going to happen next, Maniacs?