Islam Makhachev weighed in on his controversial split decision win over Alexander Volkanovski and admitted to feeling pressure to prove himself against the reigning UFC featherweight champion.
During his appearance on Weighing In with former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson and former MMA referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy, Makhachev spoke about his mentality heading into the fight with Volkanovski, which took place in the latter’s home country, Australia.
Makhachev mentioned that he believes he could have a much better performance if they fought again.
“I always smash my opponent. I want to finish him too, you know, and I know I can do this. And if he won maybe couple of fights or next fight and I win my next fight, why not? If people want, we can do again.” [10:58 – 11:15]
The lightweight champion is clearly open to the idea of a rematch with ‘Volk’, so it will depend on how they perform in their next respective title defenses and whether the UFC believes there is a strong enough demand from fans to see a rematch.
Makhachev also provided a timetable for his return and where he will be fighting next, saying:
“Yeah, they all say – Sean Shelby…Hunter, Dana – they all say, ‘We want to give you some time for the rest and we want to see you in Abu Dhabi.'” [10:05 – 10:16]
It will be interesting to see what the UFC has planned for Dagestani’s next lightweight title defense. It looks like the winner of the upcoming Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush will likely receive the next title shot, but plans could obviously change.
Check out the full video below:
Islam Makhachev reacts to Usman Nurmagomedov’s submission win at Bellator 292
Islam Makhachev was part of Usman Nurmagomedov’s star studded corner this past week at Bellator 292. The event saw Nurmagomedov defeat Benson Henderson to retain his lightweight championship and advance to the semi-finals of the lightweight Grand Prix.
The UFC lightweight champion was thrilled to see his teammate secure the win. The promotion shared his reaction in the cage after submitting a legend like Henderson.
He complimented Nurmagomedov for defeating a fighter of ‘Smooth’s caliber rather quickly, saying:
“Good performance, but I don’t think it’s gonna be easy because this guy [Benson Henderson] have crazy experience this sport. But this guy [Usman Nurmagomedov], new generation. He’s so hungry and he want to be this Grand Prix champion and this belt, he not gonna give nobody.”