Undefeated in his last nine consecutive Octagon outings, surging #4 ranked lightweight challenger, Makhachev most recently featured in October in main card clash against short-notice replacement Dan Hooker at UFC 267 – stopping the New Zealand native with a straightforward first round kimura win.
Off the back of his win, Makhachev booked his second headlining slot under the promotion’s banner, and is set to take main event status against the #3 ranked contender, Beneil Dariush at UFC Vegas 49 on February 26. in a bout that almost guarantees title implications for the victor.
Commenting on the landscape of the lightweight ranks, Makhachev claimed that he believes most recent title challenger, Dustin Poirier is only flirting with a potential welterweight move in order to secure himself more lucrative paydays a division higher – as well as claiming he will never become a champion.
“I think he just wants to make more money,” Islam Makhachev said of Dustin Poirier during an interview with Red Corner MMA. “He knows he’s not going to be champion no more. That’s why he’s thinking about money now. He just wants to choose weight where he can make more money. This is my opinion.”
For Poirier, the former interim lightweight champion headlined UFC 269 last December in an unsuccessful siege of the undisputed crown against Charles Oliveira, suffering an eventual third round standing rear-naked choke defeat.
As for Oliveira, the Sao Paulo kingpin is booked to attempt his second lightweight title defense against another former interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 7.
However, Makhachev has laid out plans to stand opposite the most prolific submission artist in promotional history by the end of 2022 in Abu Dhabi – with lightweight gold on the line.
“Charles Oliveira – he’s champion now and he showed good skills last two fights,” Islam Makhachev explained. “That’s why I think end of this year, we’re going to meet him in Abu Dhabi.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)